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The skilled physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center carefully evaluate, diagnose, and treat the underlying causes of syncope (fainting). 

Using the latest science-based tools and treatments, our specialists offer a range of diagnosis and treatment options.

Expert Evaluation and Treatment for Syncope

Syncope – fainting, or “passing out” – is an abrupt, temporary loss of consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure. 

UT Southwestern’s experienced cardiologists carefully evaluate patients with syncope to correctly diagnose and appropriately treat the underlying cause.

Causes of Syncope

The blood-pressure drop that can lead to fainting can result from many factors, such as:

  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Heart disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Lung disorders 

Symptoms of Syncope

Symptoms of syncope can include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hypotension, or low blood pressure
  • Loss of movement
  • Nausea
  • Numbness 

Syncope Diagnosis

UT Southwestern cardiologists might perform several tests to diagnose syncope. Common diagnostic tests include:

  • Cardiac catheterization 
  • Cardiac CT scan: To check for possible neurologic causes
  • Echocardiography (echo or cardiac ultrasound): To get detailed images of the structure and function of the heart and cardiac arteries 
  • Holter monitor: To record a continuous electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) of the heart's electrical activity with a small external device worn by the patient
  • Stress test: To evaluate cardiovascular fitness during exercise
  • Tilt table test: To detect a drop in heart rate and blood pressure when the patient moves from lying down to standing 

Treatment for Syncope

When someone experiences syncope:

  • Roll the person onto his or her back and keep the airway open.
  • Raise the legs above the head and loosen the person’s clothing.
  • Start CPR if breathing and pulse are weak or not present.

Support Services

UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease. Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.