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Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: Possible arrhythmias and fainting randomly?


 tropics157 - Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:08 pm

For about a half a year now, I've been having strange fainting spells. At first, they started very sporadically and with no warning. Maybe once a month or so I'd lose consciousness for a brief period of time. They were sometimes accompanied by a rapid heart rate when I awoke. Sometimes there's a lightheaded feeling, panting, rapid heart rate before fainting, and sometimes there's no detectable warning. The duration of the fainting spells also varies. Sometimes I'll pass out for less than a minute, and sometimes I'll be unconscious for three to five minutes, or very rarely more. When I wake up, I'm disoriented for a few seconds and then I can usually continue with whatever I was doing. Occasionally, my peripheral vision is gone upon waking and it looks like I'm seeing through a cloudy, black tunnel. Lately, the fainting has been increasing in frequency. Where I used to maybe faint once a month or once a week, I've now found myself fainting at least once a day or more for a few days in a row, and then no fainting for a while, and then a lot more of this pattern. I've fainted up to as often as five times in one day, and it scares me. I fainted while driving, but was fortunately not in an accident. Also, a bit before all the fainting started, I noticed that I was having heart irregularities, where it would feel like I was being choked in my chest or my heart rate would randomly beat faster or slower, or seem to "hiccup" or skip a beat. Would anyone have any idea what this might be? Any and all insight would be greatly appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat May 02, 2009 10:32 pm

User avatar Hi there --

First, you need to get clear on just what's causing all this, and the sooner the better. I can't imagine putting up with all that for half a year! While it may be basically innocent (there are so many possible causes, including benign and malignant arrhythmias, other electrical problems, dysautonomia, even seizures) it could also be something more serious, and even a basically benign arrhythmia or other cause of fainting can be dangerous if you're driving or simply wind up hitting your head on something.

It does sound like you're having some sort of arrhythmia happen, and these can cause or be associated with fainting, which is something you just can have happening all the time. At best you'll wind up whacking your head on something, but it could be even more dangerous than that. You need to be seen by a cardiologist and soon, and preferably by an electrophysiologist (cardiolgist who specializes in arrhythmias). Many arrhythmias are very easy to manage or even eliminate, but they first have to be diagnosed. First thing you need to have is a 12-lead EKG, and if that doesn't reveal anything, then an echocardiogram (neither is invasive nor takes much time), and then perhaps wear an event monitor for a few weeks to try and catch this activity, whatever it is. And please, next time this happens, get yourself to the nearest emergency room, as they may be able to catch what is going on and document it. This is a very important part of getting this resolved. There are several electrical problems of the heart that become common in adolescence and some of them are more serious than others, but anything that causes repeated fainting is serious until we know otherwise.

I hope this helps. Please do follow up with us here as needed, follow up also with a cardiologist, do not hesitate to go to the ER if this happens even one more time, and please keep us updated as well. Again, it may be something very innocent, but we don't know that, so til we do we will treat this as potentially serious. Okay? Now stay in touch with us here and I hope to hear from you soon. Good luck to you.

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