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What Is Fainting?

Fainting is when a person briefly loses consciousness, usually leading to a fall. Some people call fainting passing out, having a dizzy spell, blacking out, or syncope. Fainting is a common problem that may cause anxiety, injury, or you may need medical treatment. Fainting is also the sixth leading cause of hospitalization for people older than 65 years.

Falls are also common—especially among older adults. Sometimes a fall is actually a faint in disguise because you don’t even remember losing consciousness, especially if other people aren’t around to watch you faint.

Both faints and falls can cause serious injury, disability, or worse. Consider these statistics:

  • Fainting causes about one in 10 falls in older adults.
  • People who have a history of falling are likely to fall again in the next year.
  • Falls cause two out of three deaths from unintentional injuries.

For these reasons, it’s important to see a doctor if you’ve had a faint or fall.

Find a Fainting Specialist

What Is the Cause of Fainting (Syncope)?

Fainting, also known as syncope, can be caused by many reasons. These could include:

  • cardiac (heart) conditions,
  • neurological (brain) causes,
  • metabolic disorders, and
  • stress.

With so many potential causes, the majority of people who faint or fall end up seeing multiple doctors over a long period of time before they get a correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, even with the current evaluation process, a high percentage of faints and falls still go unexplained because it can be difficult to treat all the possible causes.

Find Treatment for Fainting

The Fainting Clinic at University of Utah Health is a one-stop resource for patients who want to pinpoint a cause for why they faint. The only clinic of its kind, we bring together a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals who specialize in fainting to quickly diagnose the cause of your problem.

What To Expect From Your Visit

Seeing multiple doctors over a long period of time can cause anxiety, needless tests, and risks of injury or hospitalization while you wait for proper treatment. At the Fainting Clinic, you can see the right doctor and get all of the right tests in one place.

If you request an appointment online, you will be contacted within 24–48 hours to schedule an appointment with a doctor who is an expert in evaluating fainting.

You can also schedule an appointment over the phone by calling 801-585-7676.

Our specialists will come to you at the clinic so you don’t have to visit multiple locations. Our specialists include cardiologists, geriatricians, and neurologists who are available to provide you with the comprehensive evaluation you deserve.

Our fainting specialists use recommended guidelines to order only the most appropriate tests for you. This leads to fewer needless procedures, a much shorter time to get a diagnosis, and increased peace of mind. In addition, all the tests you need will be performed within 24 hours of your first visit. This reduces delays in your diagnosis and the number of future doctors’ visits you’ll need.

Our comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating fainting helps lower your risk of a faint- or fall-related injury. It also helps prevent expensive inpatient hospital stays.


  1. Why is it important to see a specialist after I faint?
    There are many possible reasons for fainting. At our clinic, you will be seen by a fainting specialist who will make sure that all the possible causes of your faint or fall are addressed in as little time as possible. Our specialists will come to you, and you will only have the most appropriate tests or procedures needed to diagnose or treat the cause of your fainting.
  2. Does my health plan, Medicare, or Medicaid cover care at the clinic?
    Most health plans cover the care we provide. However, we recommend you check with your health plan administrator to learn about the details of your coverage.

Patient Resources

What Should You Do If Somebody Faints?

Fainting can be a scary event for everyone involved. If you're around when someone hits the floor, how should you respond? Learn the facts about fainting and what you can do when it happens.
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Why You Need a Faint & Fall Clinic

One-third of people 65 years or older will have an injury from falling. A fall can lead to additional falls, loss of independence, and even loss of life. A specialized faint and fall clinic can not only treat the injuries from a fall but also identify the risk factors.
Find Out More