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Treatment Options

The goal of treatment is to address the underlying cause of syncope. To treat syncope, your doctor will often use medications or advise that you undergo surgery.


Medications are prescribed to control atrial rhythm (e.g., flecainide, propafenone, sotalol, amiodarone) or ventricular rate (e.g., digoxin, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers) or underlying disease.

Procedures, Devices & Surgery

The goal for treating syncope is to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. For some patients, medications and surgical intervention are necessary to reach that goal. Examples of surgical therapies include:

  • Inserting a pacemaker to help with a slow heartbeat (if the A-V node has been ablated, a pacemaker is required)
  • An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) may be inserted in those at risk of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
  • Electrical shock (cardioversion) can stop some arrhythmias
  • Cardiologists can use a catheter (a long, thin flexible tube) that is guided through vessels to the heart. Here, your doctor can deploy radio waves at the point where the arrhythmia originates or spreads. This minimally invasive procedure destroys (ablates) or blocks the problem impulses. In some cases, catheter ablation aims at the pathway between the atria and the ventricles (the A-V node) in order to prevent the ventricles from beating too fast. Ablation often leads to fewer symptoms, reduced need for drugs and better quality of life