From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


noun, plural: syncopes

The transient loss of consciousness, generally caused by global cerebral ischemia


Syncope is the medical term for fainting or a swoon. Possible causes of syncope are related to the general cerebral ischemia, which may then be caused by an abrupt lowering of blood pressure (hypotension), failure of the cardiac systole, hypoglemia, emotional distress, lack of sleep, and deglutition (i.e. swallow syncope).

Prior to fainting or syncope, some of the signs include dizziness, temporary loss of hearing, transient loss of sensation (e.g. pain), temporary loss of vision, nausea, muscular weakness, sweating, and palpitations. This stage prior to the actual fainting is called presyncope.1

There are different forms of syncope. Fainting associated with swallowing is called swallow syncope. Fainting associated with micturition is referred to as micturition syncope. Syncope associated with paroxysms of coughing is called tussive syncope.

Word origin: Latin syncope, from Greek synkopḗ (a cutting short)


See also:

Related term(s):

Mentioned in:

1 Reeves, Alexander G; Rand S. Swenson. "Chapter 14: Evaluation of the Dizzy Patient". Disorders of the nervous system: a primer. Dartmouth Medical School.