April 18, 2016 – Fainting


Anchor lead: How often does fainting occur and how is driving affected?  Elizabeth Tracey reports

Syncope is medicalese for fainting, and a recent large study found that people who have syncope, or fainting spells, are twice as likely to have an automobile accident as those who don’t.  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says this is a recurring issue in her practice.

Miller: The question comes up all the time in my practice how do I assess whether or not a patient can drive? And in particular my patients with syncope.  Syncope is very common.  Over the course of our lifetimes up to 35% of us will experience an episode of syncope, and a third of those folks will actually have a recurrence.    :21

Miller says certain groups of people are more at risk.

Miller: Patients who have recurrent syncope, substantial cardiovascular comorbidity and patients who have really truly unexplained syncope, those are the folks who may need to have some driving restrictions.   :12

Miller says any episode of syncope, or fainting, should be assessed.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.