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Syncope and palpitation 

Syncope and palpitation
Chapter:
Syncope and palpitation
Author(s):

K. Rajappan

, A.C. Rankin

, A.D. McGavigan

, and S.M. Cobbe

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0341
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date: 02 March 2021

Syncope is a transient episode of loss of consciousness due to cerebral hypoperfusion. Its causes can be subdivided on the basis of pathophysiology, including neurally mediated—or reflex—syncope; orthostatic hypotension; cardiac causes; and cerebrovascular or psychogenic causes. Neurocardiogenic syncope, or simple faint, is the commonest cause and is benign, but it is always important to exclude or establish the diagnosis of cardiac syncope, because this has an adverse prognosis that may be improved with appropriate treatment. Meanwhile, palpitation is the awareness of one’s heart beating—it may be due to an awareness of an abnormal cardiac rhythm, or an abnormal awareness of normal rhythm. It is most commonly due to premature beats (ectopics) and is benign. Correlation between symptoms and cardiac rhythm is the initial aim of investigations in patients presenting with palpitations.

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