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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Fainting: Treatment & Monitoring


Alternate Names : Passing Out, Syncope, Syncopal Episode

Fainting | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

First aid for a person who has fainted includes the following steps:

  • Check for signs of circulation, such as normal breathing, coughing, or movement in response to stimulation.
  • Contact the emergency medical system immediately if these signs are absent.
  • Start cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR if the person stops breathing.
  • If the person has signs of circulation, he or she has probably fainted. The individual should be left on the ground and both legs should be elevated. This helps improve blood flow to the brain. The person should remain lying down for at least 10 minutes, even if he or she wakes up. After that, he or she should get up slowly and sit in a chair for a few minutes. The person should have help when trying to stand up. Someone who gets up too fast and without help may faint again.

    Most of the time, no further treatment is needed for fainting. If the person faints repeatedly or has other symptoms, more treatment may be needed. Following are some of the common treatments:

  • blood transfusions for anemia
  • fluids for dehydration
  • medications for arrhythmias
  • medications to raise the blood pressure
  • oxygen
  • stopping medications that are causing low blood pressure
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    All medications have possible side effects. These may include allergic reactions, stomach upset, and headaches. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions to anesthesia. Blood transfusions may cause allergic reactions or infections.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Those who have simple fainting usually need no further monitoring or treatment. Those who have heart disease may need ongoing treatment for many years. Most people are able to return to normal activities after treatment. Those with frequent fainting may need to avoid certain activities, such as climbing ladders or driving.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Specific monitoring depends on the underlying cause of the fainting. It may range from none at all to intense monitoring and follow-up. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Fainting: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/24/01

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