By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the most common problems in medicine is something you may never have heard of. Syncope is a short-term but abrupt loss of consciousness with a complete return to normal after the episode. A person who has had a syncopal episode is normally brought to the hospital by a friend or family member and the story is something like, “I just fell to the ground” or “I was fine one moment and out the next.”

Once at the hospital, we check out the various causes. Things like cardiac or neurological issues can be a major concern. Syncope is a classic example of a condition where doctors can use evidence based on years of making the diagnosis and starting treatment to help diagnose and treat the problem.

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