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Published:  April 24, 2012

St. Luke’s Hospital at The Vintage Focuses on Treatment for Fainting

Fainting is a brief and sudden loss of consciousness occurring when there is a drop in blood pressure and not enough oxygen reaches the brain. Fainting, “passing out” or “blacking out,” also referred to as syncope (pronounced “sing –ko-pee”), usually occurs when a person regains consciousness right away after fainting with a brief period of confusion.

As many as half of all Americans may experience a fainting event in their lifetime. Fainting accounts for one to three percent of all emergency department visits and six percent of hospital admissions in the U.S. each year. Syncope affects people of all ages, both with and without other medical conditions.

Physicians at St. Luke’s Hospital at The Vintage (SLHV) are dedicated to diagnosing and treating these fainting events. Using the REVEAL Insertable Cardiac Monitor developed by Medtronic, SLHV is able to continuously monitor the heart and record the vital signs of a patient during an episode, regardless of where the event occurs. The REVEAL is about the size of a flash drive, takes around 20 minutes to implant and has a lifespan of three years. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis. Following a fainting spell, the patient can download the data to a handheld device and for physician analysis. The data allows the physician to see an electrocardiogram of the heart during the episode and determine if the cause was cardiovascular in nature. Once the cause is determined, the physician can develop an appropriate treatment plan.

REVEAL is more likely to capture the information needed to determine if the event was cardiovascular in nature. Due to the long lifespan, it’s able to capture data in patients with infrequent fainting spells. Using this device leads to quicker diagnosis, fewer emergency department visits and less testing.

If an appropriate treatment plan is needed, such as a pacemaker, defibrillator ICD or cardiac ablation, the SLHV cardiac catheterization lab is equipped with the latest digital imaging technology and board-certified interventional cardiologists. In some cases, the procedure will not only treat the specific event, but also correct the underlying causes behind the fainting. To learn more information about REVEAL or St. Luke’s Hospital at The Vintage, call 832-534-5156 or visit To find a physician, call 832-355-3627.

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