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Fainting Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Fainting. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How many times have you fainted?
  2. Was the event a true simple faint (syncope)?

    Why: fainting may be confused with drop attacks, seizures, narcolepsy. With a simple faint, the person falls to the ground and is unconscious for less than 2 minutes. Recovery is rapid. A few jerking movements are uncommon, but do occur. Occasionally may be incontinent of urine, never of feces.

  3. How long did the faint last?

    Why: e.g. a rapid return to alertness following a brief period of unconsciousness is characteristic of syncope or simple faint; drop attacks are episodes in which people suddenly fall to the ground without loss of consciousness and then immediately pick themselves up due to sudden attacks of weakness in the legs caused by vertebrobasilar insufficiency, Parkinson's disease or epilepsy.

  4. What were you doing at the time when you fainted?

    Why: e.g. fainting may occur after passing urine in middle aged men especially at night (micturition syncope), after breath holding or after severe coughing (cough syncope). Vertebrobasilar ischemia may precipitate a faint with turning of the head. Carotid sinus syndrome may cause elderly patients to lose consciousness on touching of the neck or turning the head. Effort syncope ( fainting on exertion) is due to a cardiac cause such as aortic stenosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

  5. Were there warning symptoms before the faint?

    Why: e.g. syncope or simple faint is preceded by warning symptoms of dizziness, faintness or true vertigo; epilepsy may be preceded by an aura which may be a strange feeling in the gut, or a sensation or experience such as déjà vu (a disturbing sense of familiarity); hyperventilation syndrome with blackout is preceded by rapid breathing, generalized paresthesia (pins and needles) or stiffening.

  6. If the faint was preceded by vertigo, was it true vertigo?

    Why: i.e. episodic sudden sensation of circular turning motion of your body or your surroundings - this is a sign of nervous system or ear disease.

  7. If not true vertigo, how would you explain your sensation?

    Why: e.g. lightheadedness, swimming, giddiness, unsteadiness, fainting - all known as pseudovertigo and are more likely to be a sign of cardiovascular disease.

  8. Is there a simple reason for the faint?

    Why: e.g. fear, embarrassment, pain, fear of public speaking, emotional stress, prolonged standing.

  9. Where you confused or sleepy after the faint?

    Why: e.g. simple faints do not have any prolonged subsequent amnesic (loss of memory) period, confusion or sleepiness. In comparison, after an epileptic seizure there is usually a period of drowsiness and a prolonged (more than 30min) period for which the person is amnesic (loss of memory).

  10. Are you, or could you be pregnant?

    Why: pregnancy is a common cause of fainting.

  11. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. diabetic patient on blood sugar medications or insulin may experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which may result in blackouts; postural hypotension may be caused by diabetes, amyloidosis, prolonged bed rest, hypovolemia (loss of body fluid) and due to various medications.

  12. Medications?

    Why: e.g. antihypertensives (medications taken to lower blood pressure), tranquilizers, glyceryl trinitrate, tricyclic antidepressants - may cause faintness and fainting; certain drug interactions (type of adverse reaction) may also cause fainting.

  13. Alcohol history?

    Why: alcohol, especially on an empty stomach may cause postural drop in blood pressure and also drop in blood glucose with subsequent fainting.

  14. Heart palpitations (either fast or slow)?

    Why: various arrhythmias can cause dizziness or fainting such as Stokes-Adams attacks caused by complete heart block, aortic stenosis and myocardial infarction. The loss of consciousness is sudden and is accompanied by pallor of the skin. Flushing of the skin may occur when the person recovers.

  15. Symptoms of postural hypotension?

    Why: e.g. feeling of faintness with standing from sitting position or sitting from laying position.

  16. Symptoms of panic attacks or panic disorder?

    Why: e.g. sudden, unexpected, short-lived episodes of intense anxiety. Panic attacks may be mistaken for fainting, as many people will perceive the various mental and physical symptoms of panic attacks as "fainting" or "swooning" although a panic attack raises the blood pressure and thus cannot cause a true low blood pressure faint.

  17. Epileptic seizure?

    Why: e.g. tendency to have spontaneous, intermittent convulsions of the body - may be mistaken for a faint.

  18. Symptoms of hypoglycemia?

    Why: e.g. sweating, hunger, tremor, drowsiness, personality change, seizures, loss of consciousness. May occur with diabetic patients on insulin or sulphonylurea oral medications.

  19. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis?

    Why: e.g. dull aching neck pain and stiffness which is worse in the morning on arising and with lifting the head, improves with gentle activity and warmth and deteriorates with heavy activity. Pain may be referred to the head, arms and shoulder blades. Cervical spondylosis may cause transient ischemic attacks due to vertebral artery compression and is a cause of episodes of loss of consciousness.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Fainting:

The following list of conditions have 'Fainting' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Fainting or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Fainting:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Fainting' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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