I realize fainting is very hard to diagnose, but I am hoping that someone will have a suggestion that my doctors or I haven't thought about.
When I faint, I get about 2 second notice, which is only enough time to barely sit on the floor. My vision fades in and out and I get this heavy feeling in my upper chest, kinda like indigestion. I am out for about 2-3 seconds. The whole time I am out it feels like thoughts are racing through my mind in fast forward, but I cannot see anyone around me and I am not aware of my surroundings. When I wake, I am completely aware of my surroundings and realize what has just happened. Usually feel shaken up, but other than that I feel normal. This happens about once a week to 10 days. It happened last year from April to August, stopped for nine months and started again in May of this year. It happens at different times of day and during different situations. Usually when I change to a new position, like sitting to standing, but it has happened when I was sitting eating breakfast.
I have had a battery of tests done (BP monitor, heart holter monitor, cat scan, eeg, ecg, mri, colonoscopy, persantine test). The only finding is Left Bundle Branch Block. They thought it was rate related, but I am in continuous bundle branch now, even at a pulse of 68.
As for my past medical history, there isn't much. I had a tubal pregnancy removed via laproscopic surgery, an ovary and cyst removed during another laparotomy surgery, and I had a baby via natural birth three months before the fainting started. This is really affecting my quality of life, I cannot drive or peacefully spend time alone with my child for fear of passing out. There isn't any other stress in my life except this condition.
Any suggestions are much appreciated.
I have been going though the same thing for over a year now. Sounds like I have had a lot of the same tests as you also. I don't get any warning either, it comes on so fast. I just black out. I can go weeks without any problems and then it starts up again.
I do have very low blood pressure but have always had that.. so since my Doctors can't find the problem they are blaming it on that. I have blacked out while sitting, standing or laying down.
I have read that if you have neck problems that can cause you to faint.. I think I will try going to the chiropractor to see if that will help.
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Have either of you had a tilt table test? I've fainted since age 9, sometimes with warning many times no warning and doctor's told me it was nothing until I was 42.
I found out with a TTT I have orthostatic intolerance and neurocardiogenic syncope and my heart stops when I faint so they think it's related to my heart.
how is your blood pressure - resting, then standing for 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes after rising? keep track of it 3 times a day on different days at the same times and chart it for your doctor's which may be helpful - if you notice large increases/decreases it may be due to a mixed signal in the ANS (autonomic nervous system) you can research ANS or Dysautonomia for more reading.
Thanks for the replies. I have been tracking blood pressure. I wore a 24 hr monitor too. But they couldn't even tell when I slept, it was so even all the time. The tilt table test may be an option, since I go to an Arrhythmia Clinic the middle of this month. There was a 3 month waiting list for that clinic.
I am not sure what happens to my heart when I faint, I didn't faint the two times I wore the Holter Monitor. Actually fainted 3 minutes before they put it on once. A real disappointment.
Thanks again. 31 years living with fainting. I can't imagine. My life has been turned upside down and it has only been 16 months. I thought that was a long time to go without a concrete diagnosis. You must be a wreck all of the time, I feel for you. How do you handle the unknown of when it is going to happen? My daughter is one and I am very nervous just going outside with her to play because of the what ifs...what if I pass out and she goes on the street, what if I pass out and she falls in her pool, and the list goes on.
Have you met with an electrophysiologist? That is who I will be talking to at the Arrhythmia Clinic in a week. I'm curious as to what kind of things they will ask at this consult. I know they do an ECG at the beginning, but no other tests are performed at the first appointment.
I am definitely going to look up orthostatic intolerance and neurocardiogenic syncope.
Fainting can be a very serious thing; especially if it's recurring. Sometimes it's just a mixed signal in the autonomic nervous system; infections, or could be heart related; and sometimes doctors just don't know or have any answers like in my case. So they may not be able to diagnose you right away; if they don't, keep searching until you find answers.
Fainting is scary; and doctors have used every excuse in the book for mine - when I was young I did it for attention, then as an adult it was stress, overworking, anxiety etc etc until I had the TTT at 42.
I'm 44 now and still faint...I went through a TTT, EP Study with ablation to correct the 50,000 pvc's I had; now I only have about 10k daily plus PAC's PSVT, VT runs, had a CT, Cardiac MRI, Catherization and then a pacemaker/icd implanted because my heart stopped during the TTT then 3 times during the EPS.
I've gone through every medical treatment and meds and lifestyle changes they've given me to no avail - I fainted just last month w/o warning hit my head on the corner of the tiled tub and sprained my neck; suffered a contusion and laceration, because I wasn't careful enough getting dressed and moved too suddenly.
Dr's are stumped and have no clue with me; one says one thing; then another cardiologist & EP will tell me something else - one says heart related the other says ANS related and no one agrees so I still have no answers.
Then I have these random mini-episodes that last 3-5 days where I have extreme vertigo and dizziness but don't completely faint. When these happen, I get hot/cold at the same time and then feel nauseous and like I'm going to faint and fatigue is so bad I can't even make it to the bathroom, sometimes have to have my husband almost carry me or crawl just to go...
What's the scariest when I look back is dr's not taking mine more seriously because a few months before dr's did testing, I fainted driving; thankfully no one was hurt and I woke up on the side of the road, I quit driving after that back in Jan 2009. Because I didn't know anything was wrong I really thought I was just over reacting when I felt my heart stop a few times out walking in early 2009 also - then I found out what was happening was my heart stopping; I was scared but mad at the same time because no one took me seriously.
After surgery, my fainting increased to sometimes 6 daily, even fainting in my dr's office. I think due to severe fluctuations in my BP/HR but they're unsure now; they think it's more and has to due to my heart so I'm going through more testing.
good luck at your appt and keep in touch with how your appointment goes; sometimes I'm too sick to get online for days at a time; so please don't think I'm ignoring a question =)
Last edited by sickandtired99; 08-08-2011 at 04:06 AM.
I had the Arrhythmia Clinic appointment. They feel my problem is vasovagal and not heart related. So to rule out the heart as the cause, they have provided me with an event monitor for a month and booked a stress echocardiogram for October. I am to use the event monitor and record my ecg's whenever I feel like I am going to faint. I have captured 3 on it so far, but they haven't called me with any results. Just this week I was chasing my daughter around the yard with bubbles and I only made 3 small laps then I was so out of breath, I just collapsed on the spot. I didn't have as much warning as other times, not even enough time to sit down. Luckily I was on the grass and was only out for a couple of seconds. Very scary that I can't even run about for 2 minutes without getting so out of breath I couldn't breathe.
I read about a condition like yours not too long ago in my local newspaper. This was happening to a man who lives in my community. He would just suddenly faint or black out. It was a really interesting story.
What he did was he rescued an old dog that he saw wandering around his neighborhood. He said the dog was very lazy and never did anything. But it wasn't long before he found out that the dog could predict his fainting spells. Before a fainting spell, the dog goes over to him and barks. So now the dog is a regular service dog that stays with him at all times.
I just did a quick internet search and found that there are dog trainers who train dogs to predict fainting spells, anxiety attacks, heart attacks, migrains etc..
I had the same thing happen to me about 6mths ago. My doctors thought it was migranes, and pitched nerves in my back, along with stress. They done all kinds of test and could not find out what was the problem, so they just said I was passing out because of sever pain. I still to this day do not know what was happening to me. I still have fainting spells and some times black outs. But they are not as often as they where 6 mths ago. I changed my eating habits, and I stopped drinking sodas and any thing that had a lot of caffine in it. and so far it has worked.
I got some results of my event monitor today. She said she doesn't know how to read ECG's, so she is gonna see if she can get me in to see a cardiologist to explain it better. The report said I have varying degrees of heart block and a complete block at one point (block as in blocking electrical impulses, not artery blockage). At which time the heart stopped for 5 seconds, then there was 7 seconds of 3 to 4 pumps. The impulse isn't getting through or is blocked and then the heart doesn't pump. Then I don't have blood or oxygen to the brain and I pass out. The arrhythmia clinic that gave me the event monitor said if it was anything serious or urgent, they would call me directly with the results, but they didn't. They just mailed them to her office. So am I to assume complete heart block isn't serious?!?!
I am glad they finally have found something and have a direction to go in. The not knowing was very stressful.
I have an appt with a Cardiologist on Monday !
Last edited by Flop; 09-23-2011 at 10:57 AM.
Reason: new information
I met with the Cardiologist. He did an Echo (normal) and then he put me on a treadmill for a stress test. I fainted on the treadmill. Apparently I went into complete heart block at 130bpm and had nothing but PWaves on the ecg screen. They did cpr to get the heart beating again. I had a pacemaker implanted the next day and went home the day after that.
The doctors said I was extremely lucky since I had been passing out for over a year. It could of easily gone the other way at any time.
A lot of adjusting on my behalf, but the good news is "I haven't passed out since they put the pacemaker in". Hopefully this has solved all problems with the heart.
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Thanks for letting us know how everything worked out. I think it's great that you finally got your health issue solved. The best part is that you get to stay alive! Left unresolved, you might not have been around much longer. It's an amazingly good story.
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