Fainting (syncope): Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Management

Anaesthetic Emergencies

  Everyone is likely to be faced with a sudden emergency at some time during their life, be it the surgery, at home, and to know what to do. Putting the knowledge to prompt use may save life, which justifies very careful study of this subject.
  In the surgery there should be a fixed routine. Dentist, anaesthetist, and chairside assistant should know the part which each must play.
The last named should immediately make available any emergency kit, sucker, and oxygen. A doctor or abulance may be required, so the numbers of these should be kept next to the telephone.

Fainting (syncope)

Syncope in medical emergency
Source:"Juan Fuentes Guerrero" - under creative commons license

  If the patient feels faint, or appears about to do so (I.e., looks pale, uneasy, and sweating), his head should be lowered between his knees or the chair should be tipped back so that his feet are up in the air and his head is below the level of his heart. This aids circulation of blood and thus oxygen to the brain. Sometimes spirits of ammonia are held below the nose to speed recovery.
  If the faint was caused by fear the patient should be reassured as he comes round. A drink of glucose may be given. It sometimes helps to prevent a feeling of faintness if the patient has a good meal before coming to the surgery for a local Anaesthetic.
 Sometimes syncope may be just that fainting episode with no medical importance. It may be caused by a serious illness, condition or disorder.
  Every case of fainting should be treated as a medical emergency until the cause is known and signs and symptoms have been treated.
Anybody who has recurring fainting should contact their doctor.

Symptoms of syncope


  1. Feeling warm or hot
  2. Sweating unecessarily
  3. Yawning most of the time
  4. Dizziness
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Sometimes a feeling of heaviness in the legs
  7. Pallor: they become pale
  8. Cold clamy extremities.

Signs of syncope



  1. There may be week pulse
  2. Patient may be slumping
  3. Patient felling over
  4. There may be a drop in blood pressure.

Causes of fainting (syncope)


The major causes of fainting is the decreased in blood flow to brain.
It also include: dehydration, alcohol and diabetes.
Other causes include:
1.  Anxiety,
2 . severe pain
3.  Reaction to local anaesthesia.

Tests and diagnosis of syncope

Medical news today further said you should see your doctor if:

  1. When there is chest pain
  2. Irregular heart beat or palpitations
  3. If there is an history of heart disease
  4. If you are pregnant
  5. If there is diabetes

First aid Management of syncope


  1. Remove all tight fitting clothes or garment
  2. Check the air way whether the patient is breathing
  3. Check the vital signs I.e pulse rate.

What are the suitable emergency kit for syncope?

  1. Oxygen cylinders
  2. Aspirator
  3. Selection of anaesthetic airways
  4. Re-breathing bag
  5. Intubation tubes.
  6. Adult and child size anaesthetic face pieces
  7. Laryngoscope
  8. Tongue forceps
  9. Aromatic ammonia
  10. Amyl nitrate capsules
  11. Glucose
  12. Sterile syringes and needles
  13. Other drugs are suggested by the dentist or anaesthetist.
These must be continually checked and kept in perfect order.

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