The common reason behind each fainting episode is a temporary lack of oxygen-rich (red) blood getting to the brain. However, many different problems can cause a decrease in blood flow to the brain. Some causes of syncope include:
Other situations or illnesses that can cause syncope include:
Some children will have symptoms before they faint. A child may have:
There may be enough warning signs that your child will have time to sit or lie down before fainting occurs. This can prevent injuries that may happen because of falling during syncope, such as head injury.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Helpful details you can provide include answers to these questions:
The provider will check your child's blood pressure and heart. Your child’s blood pressure is usually checked more than once in different positions. It may be taken while your child is lying down sitting, and standing. The provider will look for changes in blood pressure that occur with orthostatic hypotension.
Often your child will not need any tests. If your child's provider thinks there may be a serious problem, he or she may refer you to a pediatric cardiologist. This is a doctor with special training to treat heart problems in children. He or she may order tests, such as:
After an episode of syncope, your child should lie down for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, your child can sit with his or her head between the knees. Give your child a drink of water.
Work with your child's healthcare provider to figure out the cause and ways to prevent further syncope.
If a heart problem is the cause of syncope, the pediatric cardiologist will figure out what treatment is needed.Occasionally, the problem can also be due to a brain problem and may require consultation with a pediatric neurologist.
To prevent passing out caused by dehydration:
If passing occurs when standing too long:
If your child has passed out upon standing:
If your child feels like he or she may pass out, advise him or her to sit or lie down quickly.
Call your child's provider if he or she has syncope, especially if:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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