Do All Patients Who Faint Need A Defibrillator?

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin answers the question: 'Fainting And Defibrillators?'

— -- Question: Do all patients who faint need a pacemaker or defibrillator?

Answer :Fainting is a very common medical symptom and it can be due to a number of different causes. So the short answer is that not everybody who faints needs an implantable defibrillator. One form of fainting, which can be due to very rapid heart rhythms that can be dangerous and life threatening, may require treatment with an implantable defibrillator. But the important thing is to see a physician who is knowledgeable about fainting and can evaluate the cause of somebody's fainting because much of the time, the fainting is due to a benign condition and would not be treated with a defibrillator.

Now in a patient who faints from a rapid heart rhythm, it's important to remember that the defibrillator doesn't prevent the abnormal heart rhythm from occurring. So even somebody who has a defibrillator may still faint if they get their arrhythmia. The goal of the defibrillator is to prevent a lethal outcome, that is, to prevent the arrhythmia from actually producing sudden death.