Posted on July 19, 2019

 Around three percent of all cases seen at the Emergency Department are due to fainting and in many cases the symptom is not a reason for concern, a consultant at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) has said. 

“However, sometimes it can indicate a serious medical issue and doctors should treat every case of fainting as a medical emergency until they diagnose the cause,” said Dr. Amal El Hawari, Consultant, Internal Medicine Clinic at the HGH. “Fainting is very common, it affects 40 percent of the general population and six in 1,000 people are likely to get one fainting episode in a year. A full recovery usually takes a few minutes. If there’s no underlying medical condition causing one to faint, a patient may not need any treatment,” she said speaking to media persons yesterday.

Fainting happens when a person loses consciousness for a short period of time because the brain is not getting enough oxygen. A fainting spell generally lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. Some people become aware that noises are fading away, or they describe the sensation as ‘blacking out.’

“But in those with a history of heart problems particularly an irregular heart rhythm, persons above the age of 40, individuals with no previous history of fainting or those who faint while exercising may have a more serious underlying medical condition. In those cases, a health care provider should assess it as soon as possible,” said Dr El Hawari. She also underlined the importance of differentiating between fainting and seizure which can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness. 

Possible triggers of fainting can be a number of factors, including emotional trauma, severe pain, a sudden drop or increase in blood pressure, low or high blood sugar, dehydration, standing in one position for too long, standing up too quickly and many more. “Once someone faints, get the patient comfortably lying flat. You can elevate the legs to help blood flow return to the brain. Treatment after that depends on the cause of fainting. If this is the first time this person has ever fainted or if you don’t know call the Ambulance Service,” said Dr El Hawari.

“More important than immediate treatment is to treat the cause of the fainting. Often, the only way to identify the cause is to look at the patient ‘s chronic medical problems, if any, and recent activities or illnesses. When someone gets fainted they get to the Emergency Department and is referred to the Internal Medicine Clinic if the person needs more medical interventions and investigation to find the exact cause. Depending on the diagnosis, we treat or send the patient to the HGH for more specialist care,” she added.

The Internal Medicine Clinic, a unique clinic located in Building 310 in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City, is part of HGH and provides follow-up care to patients with chronic medical conditions.

source: The Peninsula