- Most diagnoses are made through a thorough medical history and physical examination along with an electrocardiogram, or ECG (heart tracing). Based on the findings during the medical history and physical exam, further tests might be ordered to find the underlying cause of the syncopal episode. As part of the medical history, it is important to document whether or not the patient hit his or her head during the fall. A closed head injury can complicate the evaluation and treatment of an episode of fainting.
Cardiac syncope: If a cardiac cause is suspected, several tests are available. Most are used to identify coronary heart disease, heart valve problems, heart failure, or arrhythmias. In addition to the EKG, an echocardiogram of the heart will often be part of the evaluation.
Noncardiac syncope: Testing depends on the suspected cause. A CT scan is rarely useful but might be ordered. Head-up tilt testing is useful to diagnose vasovagal syncope.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2014
Must Read Articles Related to Fainting
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension, fear, or worry. Some fears and worries are justified, such as worry about a loved one. Anxiety may occur without a cause, ...learn more >>
Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has recurrent seizures. A seizure is defined as an abnormal, disorderly discharging of the brain's nerve cells, result...learn more >>
Hyperventilation syndrome is a condition where a person hyperventilates for an unknown cause. Symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome include bloating, burping, p...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Fainting: