Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Good Samaritan Hospital Home  
Joint Replacement
Family Birth & NICU
Print This Page Print |    Email to a Friend Email
Who We Are Where We Are Contact Us Careers Site Map


Syncope is a partial or complete loss of consciousness with possible interruption of awareness of oneself and their surroundings.  When the loss of consciousness is temporary and there is spontaneous recovery, it is referred to as syncope, or in nonmedical terms, fainting.  Syncope accounts for one in every 30 visits to an emergency room.  It is pronounced sin-ko-pea. 

Syncope is due to a temporary reduction in blood flow and therefore a shortage of oxygen to the brain.  This leads to lightheadedness or a "black out" episode, a loss of consciousness.  Temporary impairment of the blood supply to the brain can be caused by heart conditions and by conditions that do not directly involve the heart. 

Some non-cardiac causes of syncope could be:

Fainting after certain situations (situational syncope) such as:

  1. Blood drawing
  2. Urinating
  3. Defecating
  4. Swallowing
  5. Coughing

Or anything that would trigger a reflex of the involuntary nervous system that slows the heart and dilates blood vessels in the legs and causes one to feel nauseated, sweating, or weakness just before fainting.

A migraine attack

A brain stroke or "near stroke" (transient ischemic attack)

Blood pressure medications leading to low blood pressure

Dehydration causing a decrease in blood volume

Postural hypotension or a drop in blood pressure due to changing body position to a more vertical position after lying or sitting.

Some cardiac causes could be:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms (the heart beating too slow or too fast)
  • Abnormalities of the heart valves (aortic stenosis)
  • High blood pressure in the arteries supplying blood to the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension)
  • Tears in the aorta (aortic dissection)
  • Widespread disease of the heart muscle (heart failure or cardiomyopathy)



Cardiac (Heart) Anatomy 
Cardiac (Heart) Conditions


Aortic Aneurysm & Dissection
Atrial Fibrillation &
Atrial Flutter
Cardiac Arrhythmias
Cholesterol & Heart Disease
Circulation Disease/PAD
Coronary Artery Disease
Diabetes &
Cardiovascular Disease
Heart Attack
Heart Failure

Hypertension &
Heart Disease

Sleep Apnea
Sudden Cardiac Death
Valvular Heart Disease
Cardiac (Heart) Procedures 
Cardiac (Heart) Rehab
Cardiovascular Diagnostic Test
Emergency Information
  CPR - Adult
  CPR - Infant
  Emergency Heart Attack Care (EHAC)
Good Samaritan Hospital
Heart Center Media Library
Heart Failure Program 
Health Related Links 
My Hospital Stay
Nutrition & Weight Loss Links 
Outreach Services 
Stop Smoking Links 
Vascular Disease & PAD