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What is syncope?

Syncope is the medical term for fainting. A person with syncope faints when there is not enough blood reaching the brain.

What causes syncope?

  • Reactions to certain triggers (such as pain, fear or long periods of standing up)
  • A sudden change in position (such as quickly standing up after laying down)
  • Dehydration (when there is not enough water in the body)
  • Feeling too hot
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Rarely, syncope is caused by structural or electrical problems with the heart

Is syncope dangerous?

In most cases, syncope is not dangerous. In some cases, syncope can be a sign of something more serious. This is especially true if your child faints with exercise or swimming, has an irregular heart beat or if other people in your family have syncope.

My child fainted. Should I tell the doctor?

Yes. If your child faints, call your pediatrician. They can tell you the best next steps to take care of your child.

Rev.6/2018. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.