News Seton Heart Institute Opens First Fainting Clinic in Texas

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Fainting symptom analysis could detect serious heart issues

AUSTIN, Texas - (February 14, 2012) - The Seton Heart Institute has opened Central Texas' first 'fainting' clinic, the Syncope Clinic. It is dedicated to addressing a symptom that affects thousands of people and could potentially uncover serious heart conditions.

Syncope, or unexplained fainting, is estimated to affect more than 20 percent of adults over age 45 each year. Adults who fall once have a two thirds chance of falling again over the next year, causing additional and sometimes serious bodily injuries1.

Approximately 3 percent of all emergency department visits are for fainting2. Oftentimes, a patient will undergo many expensive tests and see numerous specialists, only to walk away without knowing the true cause of the fainting.

"Many suffering from syncope say it feels like the lights went out which can cause a great deal of anxiety because they don't know if or when it will happen again," explained Dr. Jeffrey Michel, cardiologist with the Seton Heart Institute. "We're devoted to utilizing the latest tools and techniques to assess a patient's symptoms and then develop a plan to help control and prevent fainting spells."

While the exact cause of many fainting spells can be difficult to pinpoint, the underlying factors may involve the heart and circulatory system revealing a serious cardiac-related condition. Those patients should seek the expert diagnostic skills of specially-trained physicians.

The Syncope Clinic specialists include cardiologists trained in pacemaker technology and electrophysiologists, physicians who are focused on the electrical workings of the heart.

Dr. Michel continued, "Those suffering from fainting spells as a result of coronary artery disease or some type of damage to the structure of the heart are of most critical concern. The sooner we can detect the issue, the sooner we can help treat the underlying cause and help prevent a deadly cardiac issue."

The Seton Heart Institute Syncope Clinic is a one-stop resource that streamlines the process for patients to help them avoid the aggravation of multiple visits to different physicians and to receive clearer guidance on their health and well being.

The Seton Heart Institute Syncope Clinic is located at 11673 Jollyville Road, Suite 205-B in Austin.

Fainting Fast Facts:

  • Fainting accounts for six percent of hospital admissions2.
  • Patients with fainting spells typically see three physicians over a period of several months and yet, a final diagnosis is made in only 50-70 percent of the cases1.
  • One third of people 65 and older experience at least one fall; the incidence increases to 42 percent in those older than 75 years of age1.

References:

  1. Chen LY, Shen WK, Mahoney DW, Jacobsen SJ, Rodeheffer RJ (2006 Dec). "Prevalence of syncope in a population aged more than 45 years". American Journal of Medicine 119 (12):1088.e1-7
  2. Reed, M et al., The ROSE (Risk Stratification of Syncope in the Emergency Department) Study, JACC, 2010,55;713-721

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