Fainting with no cause

Dear STARS community,

I was wondering if anyone can help, I've fainted a few times over the past couple years but there seems to be no real consistent cause of them. For instance, I once sprained my ankle and fainted, i've hit my knee before and fainted and the other day I stood up from the couch as a normal and.....fainted.

Can anyone tell me why this may be the case? I have seen my Dr and have had all kinds of tests such as MRI, tilt table, echo...but to no avail. The Drs initially thought it was epilepsy as I swore during the one the episodes but it turns out I don't have it after having the 'light test'. The specialist thought I may have a problem with my vasovagal syncope and gave my some coping mechanisms, clenching fists etc. but didn't elaborate from that.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

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11 Replies

  • Can someone assist me please.....

  • Hi Pirate,

    I'm so sorry to hear that you've been suffering without any help. I'm not a doctor, so please don't take this in any way as me trying to diagnose you, but I would strongly suggest that you look into Reflex Anoxic Seizures (RAS) and perhaps ask your GP or specialist to as well. You can find information about this on the STARS website. You mention a series of tests, but no ECG.. have you had any ECG's done?

  • Hi Helenamber,

    Thank you for your kind response. I just feel a little let down, there is something that is clearly wrong yet I do not have a solution. I did indeed have an ECG done with no major issues besides a small tear in the heart. I will certainly take a look at RAS as you suggested.

  • I do feel for you. I was misdiagnosed two decades before they finally looked further and found that I had POTS. It's so difficult because on the one hand they have strict budgets and can't send everyone for tests for everything, but on the other with conditions such as fainting, it completely debilitates your life. Since finding STARS, I've realised that anyone who faints should have thorough ECG testing. ECG's can sometimes vary, so it would be worth a repeat one, or even asking for a 24 hour monitor, to see if it's worth doing further testing in that area. I wish you heaps of good luck, and really hope that you find the cause of your ill health. I know it can be incredibly isolating, so feel free to PM me if you would like to chat.

  • Hi I just read your e mail and would just like to say that when I was in my teens and twenties I used to faint regularly. I also had loads of tests and nothing was ever found. if I hit my elbow, banged my knee, twisted my ankle, I would faint. I also fainted for no apparent reason. As I got older it did improve and I'm now 61 and only faint very occasionally. I just wanted to reassure you that it's probably just normal for you and not to worry.

  • Hi Helenamber and Glamour60plus,

    Thank you both for your kind words. The doctor did mention that it may be a phase I am going through at my age and it may pass as I get older. I have noticed that I do not get the symptoms as often as I used to, which is reassuring. However, I have real issues with exercise, I cannot get my heart rate up for too long without the feeling that my heart will quite literally come out of my chest. I've bought a heart monitor and have recorded measurements of over 200 bpm. With this hanging over me it makes it very difficult to complete long aerobic exercise and has made me quite unhealthily.

  • Hi Pirate,

    sorry to hear you're not getting any answers. I'm also awaiting a diagnosis - have fainted several times over the last 17 years or so, with a couple of years off in the middle - the majority with no identifiable cause. I had a tentative diagnosis of vasovagal syncope 15 or so years ago based on history with no tests being done and was told I'd probably grow out of it, had a couple of years with no symptoms then came back with what a witness described as being like a seizure, had a tentative epilepsy diagnosis...now I'm being followed up again and this time might be getting somewhere as I had a week-long ECG monitor which identified episodes of bradycardia and a harmless (though potentially symptomatic) heart block. I've had about 6 resting ECGs, none of which have shown anything other than one when I was taken to A&E after an episode which showed my heart rate as 43bpm (though this wasn't seen as a problem) and it was only when I had the longer monitoring that anything showed up - so could be worth asking about longer-term monitoring as Helenamber says. Then if they pick anything up it can be monitored further. I've currently got an ILR which I've had for 4 months now - so just waiting for something to happen so we can look at the data!

    It's scary when you're not sure what's causing it as you don't know when it's going to happen - for me, I recognise if I'm starting to feel odd and know to lie down, crouch, wiggle my toes or clench my fists to try to make it pass and have managed to avert a couple of faints that way! The STARS website has some great information about this. Take care :)

  • Have you seen the STARS Blackouts checklist which has been written to help individuals and doctors reach the correct diagnosis for any unexplained loss of consciousness? We also have a Diagnostic tests for syncope booklet which contains information on a range of diagnostic tests for syncope. This could be helpful when discussing your fainting with your doctor and understanding the tests that are available. If you would like copies of these resources please email jenni@stars.org.uk

  • Hi Technotit,

    Thank you for your fantastic answer :) I will certainly ask my doctor a week long ECG. The main time when I get problems is when i'm doing exercise, even simple things like climbing the stairs at a tube station can get my heart racing to the point where I need to stop as I know a faint may come on - this is just a slow walk, not running. While I was doing the exercise test at St Marys in London they had to stop it as my heart rate got 'beyond the margin of safety', it was over 200 bpm.

    I think if I go back to my Dr and ask for a week long ECG and then make sure to spend a fair amount of time doing physical exercise it may show something.

    Stars - I will definitely take a look at the booklets, thank you.

    Thanks again for your advice

  • Good luck :)

  • Hi Everyone, thank you for your replies to my earlier post. I have just been diagnosed with anemia. This is rather worrying as I am a 24 yr old male in overall good health.

    I was just wondering if this can be linked to fainting in any way. Are people with anemia more likely to faint due to a low blood count?

    Any help would be most appreciated

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