Patient Information

Fainting (Syncope) in Children and Adolescents

Fainting, or syncope, is very common among children and particularly among teenagers.  The most common cause is the "common faint" which is related to low blood pressure, and can be triggered by many causes including: 

Other causes of fainting include low blood sugar, migraines, overexertion, hyperventilation, abnormal heart rhythms, some types of heart problems and a variety of other conditions.

Only a small percentage of children with fainting turn out to have a serious problem, but warning signs that should prompt immediate evaluation by a physician include fainting associated with:

The most effective treatment of the "common faint" involves two components:  1) recognize the symptoms that come before a faint (dizziness, seeing spots, sweatiness) and sit down, or lay down, right away to prevent a faint; and 2) increase the amount of fluid intake to 6-8 glasses per day, especially during hot weather or in the setting of vigorous exercise.  These two measures should, in most cases, prevent a faint from occurring.  If fainting continues, or if any of the factors in the second list above hold true, it is important to see evaluation from a pediatric cardiologist.

Web Links:  Here are some Internet links that might be helpful.  They look pretty good, but I cannot vouch for their accuracy or quality.  As always with the Internet, browser beware!


Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Pennsylvania Children's Hospital: Fainting

Connecticut Children's Medical Center

American Heart Association


Breath-holding Spells:

Dr. Koop


Pediatric On Call