Some causes of syncope can be a warning of a life-threatening situation. Most times, syncope is a relatively benign situation.

What is syncope?

Syncope is the medical term for fainting or passing out. It is caused by a temporary drop in the amount of blood that flows to the brain.

Syncope can occur if you experience a sudden drop in blood pressure, a drop in heart rate or changes in the amount of blood in certain areas of your body. If you pass out, you will likely return to full wakefulness and be alert right away, but you may be experience confusion for a bit.

What causes syncope?

The cause of Syncope can be varied. Some patients may have an underlying medical condition they may or may not be aware of that affects the nervous system or heart. You may also have a cardiovascular condition that affects blood flow through your body and causes your blood pressure to drop when you change positions (orthostatic hypotension).

Types of Syncope

There are several different types of syncope that are categorized by the cause of the problem.

Vasovagal Syncope – is the most common type of syncope. It is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure, which causes a drop in blood flow to the brain.

Situational Syncope – is a type of vasovagal syncope that occurs during specific events that affect the nervous system that lead to syncope.

Postural Syncope – occurs when a patient experiences a sudden drop in blood pressure results from a rapid change in position (i.e. lying down to standing up)

Cardiac Syncope – is cause by a cardiovascular condition that affects the blood flow to the brain. Conditions that can cause cardiac syncope include arrhythmia, valvular disease, aortic stenosis, and heart failure.

Neurologic Syncope – is caused by certain neurologic conditions like stroke or seizure.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrone (POTS) – happens when an excessively fast heart rate is caused when a patient stands up after sitting or lying down.

How is Syncope Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing syncope, your should contact Dr. Khoo immediately. While most causes of Syncope are relatively benign, in some cases, the cause of syncope can be a warning of a life-threatening situation.

Your evaluation will begin with a comprehensive review of your medical history and a physical exam. Dr. Khoo will ask you detailed questions about your symptoms and syncope episodes, including whether you have any symptoms before you faint and when and where the episodes happen.

You may then have one or more tests to help Dr. Khoo determine the cause of your syncope, including

  • Echocardiogram
  • Blood Volume Testing
  • Hemodynamic Testing
  • Autonomic Reflex Testing

The test results will help Dr. Khoo determine what is causing you to have syncope.

How is Syncope Treated?

Specific treatment options will depend on the cause of your syncope and the results of your evaluation and testing. The goal of treatment is to keep you from having episodes of syncope.

Treatment options include medication, improvement in blood circulation, dietary changes, behavioral changes, elevation of the head during sleep, treatment for underlying structural heart conditions, pacemaker implantation or cardiac defibrillator placement.

Dr. Khoo and the members of here healthcare team will develop a customized treatment plan and discuss which treatment options are best for you.

We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary until you are confident that you understand your heart condition, medications or procedures you may be considering.

In her practice as a top heart doctor in Albuquerque, Dr. Michelle Khoo wants you to be informed, comfortable and confident about your treatment plan.

Quality Healthcare is at the Heart of Everything We Do.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Khoo call 1-505-248-1802 or click here to request an appointment online.

Khoo & Associates Cardiology and Wellness is a boutique Cardiovascular Health & Wellness practice that is focused on delivering outstanding, comprehensive and ethical cardiovascular care to patients in Albuquerque and the surrounding counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia in New Mexico.

Our experienced and dedicated team offers our patients the combined collective experience and knowledge necessary to ensure the highest level of patient care in two convenient office locations – Downtown Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.