Syncope Specialist

Heart Rhythm Associates, LLC

Van H. De Bruyn, MD, FACC, FHRS

General Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology located in Little Rock, AR

Fainting doesn’t always indicate a medical emergency, but your body could be trying to tell you something. At Heart Rhythm Associates LLC, Van H. De Bruyn, MD, brings more than 20 years of advanced cardiology training to Central Arkansas to help diagnose and manage heart conditions and other diseases that can affect the heart, like syncope. If you’re in Little Rock or the surrounding area and have fainting spells, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.

Syncope Q & A

What is syncope?

Syncope is a condition that describes a sudden loss of consciousness, or fainting, because of a momentary drop in blood flow to your brain. Sometimes called a “spell,” syncope can affect anyone of any age, though it’s most common in people as they grow older.

In most cases, a syncopal episode lasts a short time – minutes or seconds. Many people experience a variety of symptoms or warning signs before they lose consciousness.

What are the symptoms of syncope?

Before having a syncopal episode, you could experience:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness, vertigo, or lightheadedness
  • Slurred speech
  • Visual disturbances, like tunnel vision
  • Rapid heartbeat or weak pulse
  • Shakiness or body weakness
  • Headache
  • Pale skin or clammy sweating

It’s important to sit or lie down when having these warning signs to avoid falling and injuring yourself if you faint. Raising your legs higher than your head can help send blood back to your brain and can sometimes prevent a syncopal event.

What causes syncope?

You can experience syncope for a variety of reasons including environmental triggers, emotional responses, and underlying medical conditions.

Common causes of syncope include:

  • Standing for extended periods of time
  • Changing positions quickly
  • Having dilated blood vessels or low blood pressure
  • Being pregnant, dehydrated, or exhausted
  • Experiencing extreme pain, fear, or stress

Syncope can also be due to arrhythmia or other heart-rhythm problems. This disorder isn’t always a serious condition and can be difficult to diagnose. Many seizure patients often receive an inaccurate diagnosis.

How is syncope diagnosed and treated?

Dr. De Bruyn works closely with you to look for the underlying causes of your syncopal episodes. During your exam, he will check your blood pressure and perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) to look for arrhythmias and evaluate your heart’s electrical activity.

Based on your exam, Dr. De Bruyn can provide a variety of therapies to manage your condition. If the cause of your syncope is heart-related, he can recommend a range of treatments, such as medications, surgery, or implantable devices like pacemakers and ICDs that can correct electrical irregularities.

In addition to medical treatments for syncope, Dr. De Bruyn will likely also suggest lifestyle changes to manage your stress, improve your diet, and increase your fluid intake.

To learn more about syncope, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.