Peninsula Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Syncope

Unexplained Fainting

What is fainting?

Fainting, also called syncope is a sudden loss of consciousness. It occurs when the blood pressure drops and not enough oxygen reaches the brain. If you do not have any warning signs before you faint, you may fall unexpectedly and be injured.

What could be causing my fainting?

Fainting can be caused by many things, including:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Improper blood circulation
  • Metabolic and lung disorders
  • Standing too fast
  • Exhaustion
  • Emotional stress
  • Pain
  • Overheating
  • Illness
  • Some medications
  • Anaemia (an inadequate quantity of healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to your tissues)

When should I see my doctor?

If you have syncope, it’s important to find out why you’re fainting. While some causes of unexplained fainting are harmless, others may be serious or even life threatening. If you have fainted during exercise or have experienced dizziness, heart palpitations, or seizure-like episodes, you should see your doctor.

Should I see a specialist doctor to help determine why I am fainting?

The causes of fainting are varied. So too are the medical specialists who might need to diagnose your fainting spells. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for more evaluation.

Could my fainting be related to my heart?

Heart-related causes, including abnormal heart rhythms, are among the most serious causes of fainting. Your doctor will take a medical and family history and perform a physical exam. If your doctor suspects a heart condition is causing your fainting, diagnostic tests may be run to gather information about your heart and you may need to be referred to a cardiologist for further tests and treatment.

If my fainting is being caused by my heart, what tests will be needed?

If you experience one or recurrent fainting spells and their cause remains unexplained, your doctor may recommend you see a cardiologist if he or she suspects a heart condition is causing your fainting. A cardiologist may recommend an insertable cardiac monitor.

What is an Insertable Cardiac Monitor?

An insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) also known as an insertable loop recorder (ILR) is a device that may help your doctor determine if an abnormal heart rhythm is causing your fainting.

How is an Insertable Cardiac Monitor inserted?

Implanting an insertable cardiac monitor typically involves a simple procedure performed by a cardiologist in hospital. During the short procedure, the area is numbed with a local anaesthetic then a small incision is made. The monitor is inserted just beneath the skin in the upper chest area. The monitor is very small (about the size of a paperclip) and easy to insert, so once it's in place you can pursue your normal day-to-day activities.

What happens once the device is inserted?

The inserted device will continuously monitor your heart’s rhythm over long periods of time and record them either automatically or when you use a hand-held patient assistant. Your doctor can access and download information from the monitor. If you experience another fainting episode after having the monitor inserted, by looking at your heart rhythms before, during, or after a fainting spell, your doctor can identify whether your fainting was caused by a heart related problem.

I have private health insurance. Will the cost for the device be covered?

Depending on your private health cover, most insurers provide coverage for heart devices, such as an insertable cardiac monitor, for unexplained fainting spells. We recommend that you review the details of your health insurance plan to find out how to obtain a prior authorization to ensure that your insertable cardiac monitor is a covered procedure in a private hospital.

How do I get a referral to a cardiologist who can investigate my syncope further?

Peninsula Private Hospital is an advanced cardiac, medical and surgical hospital in Frankston. Our cardiologists are able to diagnose and manage a comprehensive range of heart problems.

Talk to you doctor about whether a referral to one of our accredited cardiologists is required to further investigate your syncope.

The following cardiologists are accredited at Peninsula Private Hospital:

  • Dr Palananda Arunothayaraj
    Peninsula Private Hospital
    Suite 10, 525 McClelland Drive FRANKSTON
    T: 03 8790 8366

  • Dr Phillip Carrillo
    115 Frankston Flinders Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9783 3684

  • Dr Mark Freilich
    9 Hastings Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9509 5009

  • Dr Didier Grolaux
    Level 3, 24-28 Frankston Flinders Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9770 0844

  • Dr Robert Lew
    115 Frankston Flinders Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9783 3684

  • Dr Gregory Szto
    Peninsula Private Hospital
    Suite 11, 525 McClelland Drive FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9789 0088

  • Dr Rodney Teperman
    Peninsula Private Hospital
    Suite 7, 525 McClelland Drive FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9789 6011

  • Dr Geoffrey Toogood
    34 Cranbourne Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9770 0099

  • Dr Olivier van den Brink
    Peninsula Private Hospital
    Suite 11, 525 McClelland Drive FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9789 0088

  • Dr Brian Wood
    115 Frankston Flinders Road FRANKSTON
    T: 03 9783 3684

PPH-linq
An insertable cardiac monitor


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