How long can you stay passed out before you die?

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Passing out (fainting) is also referred to as syncope. Syncope is the loss of consciousness. Fainting occurs because there is a loss of blood supply to the brain and it can signal a serious condition. When someone passes out, they usually do not stop breathing. An example may be a young child throwing a temper tantrum and holding their breath. Sometimes they may hold their breath for so long that they pass out. As soon as they pass out, they begin breathing again. Breathing is something that our bodies do automatically.

If a person passes out because their airway is obstructed then this is very critical and death could occur within minutes if the airway is not cleared.

If a person does pass out it important to check for a pulse immediately and begin CPR if needed.

There are many different kinds of syncopes but death is usually associated with heart syncope:

The prognosis of a person who has fainted depends greatly on the underlying cause. In one study, 25% of people (average age 61 years) with a cardiac cause of syncope died within 1 year. Many of them died suddenly. Fainting that is not associated with cardiac or neurologic disease, however, presents no special risk.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you "pass out" you have fainted. This is called syncope, you had a syncopal episode. There are physiological and psychological reasons that someone might have a syncopal episode.

By far, the most common etiology of syncope from a physiological standpoint is hypotension. When the blood pressure gets too low the brain is underperfused with blood, this causes you to faint. Psychological reasons you might faint are extreme fear,excitement,or anxiety. For example, have you ever heard of a man passing out after his wife informed him she was pregnant? This is a protective measure the brain uses as an escape mechanism. Some people that suffer from anxiety attacks pass out, this is because they are breathing too fast and losing too much carbon dioxide. This is another protective mechanism because breathing returns to baseline after you pass out. In other words, you do not continue to breathe fast after passing out.

If someone has a syncopal episode, they continue to breathe and the heart continues to beat, merely passing out does not result in death. 

kenikalaa9 | Student

well im pretty sure you can stayed passed out for a whilee before you actually die... you can actually go into a comma if im right. you can stay in a comma for years, you might wake up or you might just die after being in one for many years. im just telling you what i know off the top of my head.

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