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Syncope (medicine)
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eMedicinemed/3385  ped/2188 emerg/876

Syncope is the medical term for fainting or blacking out. It is a sudden loss of consciousness, usually for a short time. It is mostly because there is not enough oxygen in the brain. It can be for other reasons.

Fainting is quite common. It usually happens in two age ranges: the teenage years, and during older age. The chance of a person fainting at least once in a lifetime is about 40 to 50 percent. Syncope causes 1 to 3 percent of all attendances to emergency departments and 1 to 6 percent of all hospital admissions.[1][2]


  1. Ruwald M.H. et al 2012. The relation between age, sex, comorbidity, and pharmacotherapy and the risk of syncope: a Danish nationwide study. Europace 14 (10): 1506–14. doi:10.1093/europace/eus154 . PMID 22588456 . 
  2. Sun B.C; Emond J.A. & Camargo C.A. 2004. Characteristics and admission patterns of patients presenting with syncope to U.S. emergency departments, 1992-2000. Acad Emerg Med 11 (10): 1029–34. doi:10.1197/j.aem.2004.05.032 . PMID 15466144 . .