My child fainted at school!! (Syncope in Children and Adolescents)
Syncope is the name given to the loss of consciousness and fall episode, also called blackout or faint.
The most common type observed in children and adolescents is the Vasovagal Attack, as a result of fast situations, closed places, being standing up for a long time (school celebrations), stress, fear, etc.
Usually the child feels something is wrong, he/she is anxious, may have migraines (headache), nausea, he/she can also be irritable, and it is generally accompanied by paleness in the skin and mucosa, having his/her hands and feet cold.
All these are symptoms which announce the probable later loss of consciousness and subsequent fall.
The duration of these apisodes is short and generally recovery is complete within a few minutes.
Usually there are similar previous cases in close relatives. It is also associated with family history of migraines and personal history of Pale Weep Spasm
Despite all these previous cases, it is convenient to study the child in order to rule out other illnesses, specially cardiac illnesses, as arrhythmia, structural cardiopathies (alterations in the normal anatomy of the heart) and neurological illnesses as convulsions, which are also shown with loss of consciousness and sudden fall, but with a great confusion and drowsiness after the episode, without remembering, in this case, what happened.
The child must be examined by a pediatrician who eventually, according to the results of the questions and physical examination, may ask for an electrocardiogram, blood tests in order to rule out anemia or blood-glucose alterations, etc. We remind you that these investigations are required according to the results of the patient's clinical conditions.
When there occur repeated syncopes or there are doubts in the diagnosis, a neurological evaluation can be required so as to dismiss convulsion episodes.
There is a test called Tilt Test which investigates the relation of the blood pressure changes in different positions of the body (lying down, sitting, standing up). This is done with a special equipment which consists of a movile trolley and blood pressure sensors which are placed on the patient.
This test is done gradually and under strict professional control, being very useful to investigate patients who suffer repeated Syncopes.
The treatment of syncopes firstly consists in the prevention: avoiding long fast hours, long times being standing, being in closed places, etc., that is to say, know how to notice these triggering factors.
When the first symptoms appear (paleness, dizziness, nausea, etc) it is recommended to sit down or lie down with the legs up in order to improve blood circulation.
There are certain specific cases of syncope episodes which may require medication, but this is a decision the specialist should take.
If your child has syncope episodes you should see your family pediatrician immediately.
Concerning your children's health the pediatrician is irreplaceable!!
Ask your pediatrician.