Erlanger Logo


Also called fainting, black-out or sudden loss of consciousness

Syncope (pronounced “sin ko pea”) is the medical term for fainting, blacking out or loss of consciousness. It is caused by a lack of blood or oxygen to the brain. Syncope can happen if you have a sudden drop in blood pressure, a drop in heart rate, or changes in the amount of blood in areas of your body. If you pass out, you will likely become conscious and alert right away, but you may be feel confused for short while. Syncope is usually not cause for alarm, but it’s important to get evaluated by a physician. This can help determine if syncope is caused by something more serious like disorders of the nervous system or heart. 


  • Blacking out
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Falling for no reason
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling drowsy or groggy
  • Fainting, especially after eating or exercising
  • Feeling unsteady or weak when standing
  • Changes in vision, such as seeing spots or having tunnel vision
  • Headaches


If you experience fainting spells of undetermined cause, your doctor may prescribe an insertable cardiac monitor (ICM). The ICM will continuously record your heart’s rhythm over an extended period. If you have another fainting episode after receiving the monitor, your doctor can access and download information from the monitor, which may help to determine if your fainting was caused by a heart-related issue.

Contact us to learn more about our Electrophysiology team that provides regional diagnosis and treatment for syncope and a range of heart rhythm disorders.

Erlanger Cardiology
Erlanger Medical Mall
979 East 3rd Street
Suite C-520
Chattanooga, TN 37403