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Syncope

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Updated September 16, 2005

Definition: Syncope, also referred to as fainting is a transient loss of consciousness that is caused by inadequate blood flow to the brain. It can be the result of cerebral vascular accident(stroke), peripheral circulatory failure, a cardiac arrhythmia, Stokes-Adams syndrome, hyperventilation, hypoglycemia. Conditions such as fatigue, nausea, intense pain, prolonged standing, intense emotional distress, anemia, dehydration and poor ventilation (especially with high room temperatures) can increase the likelihood of fainting.

Treatment is aimed at restoring blood flow to the brain and keeping the victim safe. Place the victim in a reclining position with the head low being sure the airway is clear. Medical follow-up is needed to determine the cause of the episode.

Pronunciation: sin'ku-pe
Also Known As: fainting, swoon
Common Misspellings: sincope
Examples:
Sam fainted after standing in the hot sun while watching a golf tournament.
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