Syncope, more commonly referred to as fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness often linked to insufficient blood flow to the brain. While at times, fainting is relatively harmless, it can also indicate a deeper underlying risk or condition.
Why Heart Health Affects Syncope
One cause of fainting is low blood pressure, also known as hypotension. When blood pressure is too low, the heart may be unable to pump a normal amount of blood to the brain, making syncope an indicator of potential heart problems.
Syncope can also be caused by heart disease in cases where the blood supply is blocked by an accumulation of fatty substances in the main vessels. If you or someone you know experiences syncope, it’s important to undergo proper heart testing to determine if fainting spells have an underlying cardiac cause.
The Most Common Heart Tests for Syncope
To diagnose cardiac-related syncope, patients must undergo electrocardiogram (ECG) testing. By recording the electrical activity of the heart, an ECG may perceive evidence of acute ischemia, a restriction in blood supply that accompanies and causes a heart attack.
An ECG can also detect whether syncope may be caused by arrhythmias, when the heart beats too fast to allow for adequate ventricular filling or too slow for adequate output.
Although syncope is often caused by multiple factors, an ECG screening can provide your heart doctor with valuable insight into the potential cardiac-related causes. With adequate heart testing following syncope, you may be able to pinpoint and treat cardiovascular disease early on.