Faint an emergency

Circulatory collapse and syncope

A spontaneous loss of consciousness for a short period of time is known in specialist circles as syncope, colloquially as fainting. The most common cause is a circulatory collapse.

Caused by a temporary insufficient supply of the brain with blood or oxygen, a sudden occurrence and a loss of posture are characteristic of a circulatory collapse. Despite the dramatic appearance, most syncope are rather harmless and are characterized by a complete and consequential regeneration.


Nevertheless, fainting can also be a symptom of a serious illness and must be clarified in an emergency. There are essentially three groups of causes that lead to short-term circulatory disorders in the brain:

  • Vasovagal causes are based on a reflex dysregulation of the circulatory system, triggered by standing up suddenly, standing for a long time or emotional events such as shock, fear, pain and joy. This leads to a widening of the blood vessels. The blood sinks in the legs.
  • A cardiovascular cause is usually a derailed heart rhythm. The heart either beats too slowly or too fast. But also severe fluid loss, antihypertensive drugs, a narrowing of the aortic valve, pressure on the carotids or, in the worst case, a heart attack can be one of the cardiogenic reasons.
  • Neurogenic causes are rare and must be differentiated from true unconsciousness. Still, you can have a seizure, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a stroke