Unifying Concepts

Causes of Syncope

Cardiac causes

  • Structural cardiac or cardiopulmonary disease (aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, pulmonary stenosis, left atrial myxoma, aortic dissection, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac tamponade, pulmonary embolism, obstructive cardiomyopathy)

  • Cardiac arrhythmias (tachyarrhythmias, bradyarrhythmias)

  • Neurally mediated syncopal syndrome (includes neurocardiogenic or vasovagal syncope, carotid sinus syncope, and situational syncope)

  • Orthostatic (or postural) hypotension

Metabolic causes

  • Hypoxia

  • Hypoglycaemia

  • Hyperventilation

Psychiatric causes

  • Somatisation disorders

  • Hysteria

  • Panic

  • Fright

Neurological causes

  • Seizure disorders

  • Transient ischaemic attacks

  • Subclavian steal syndrome

  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus



  1. Benditt DG, Ferguson DW, Grubb BP, Kapoor WN, Kugler J, Lerman BB, Maloney JD, Raviele A, Ross B, Sutton R, Wolk MJ, Wood DL. Tilt table testing for assessing syncope. American College of Cardiology. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1996 Jul;28(1):263-75. [Medline]


Created: Dec 11, 2005

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