To be referred to the Falls & Syncope Unit, your GP will need to complete a letter of referral and send it to the following address:
Falls & Syncope Unit
Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing
St James Hospital
Phone: (01) 428 4105
Please note that initial appointments to the Falls and Syncope Unit (FASU) can take between 2 and 4 hours as a comprehensive history of dizziness, falls and blackouts is established and a detailed medical assessment is completed.
When you receive your appointment letter, please confirm your appointment by calling (01) 428 4105. If you are unable to attend, please contact (01) 428 4105 to re-schedule your visit.
Please bring the following items with you to your appointment:
- A complete list of the medications you are currently taking.
- Any relevant information on tests and procedures completed in other hospitals.
- If you are diabetic, please bring your glucometer as your blood sugars may be monitored during specific tests.
- If you are asthmatic, please bring your inhalers to the clinic
- If English is not your first language, please bring a friend or relative with you when you attend the clinic to assist in translating as a detailed description is important in order to diagnose the causes of falls and blackouts.
If you have had a fall or blackout, it is useful to consider what happened before, during and after an episode. Consider the following questions before you visit the Falls and Syncope Unit (FASU):
- Was there any identifiable trigger (e.g. fright, fasting, alcohol, stress, warm environment, etc.)?
- Did you get any warning an event was about to occur (e.g. dizziness, blurred vision, hearing disturbance, sweating, a warm feeling, nausea or vomiting)?
- Did you experience chest pain or discomfort?
- Did you get palpitations?
- Did you blackout? If yes, for how long?
- Was there any limb jerking, eye rolling or incontinence during the blackout
- Were you confused following the episode?
- How long did it take you to recover?
- How often do episodes occur? Daily, weekly, monthly, less frequently?
- Is there a family history of blackouts, sudden death or migraines?
If you have suffered from blackouts, please fill out the STARS blackout checklist prior to attending FASU.
Where possible, use a mobile phone to video a blackout. It is very helpful to have a family member or friend who has witnessed an episode attend your appointment at FASU to provide additional information. If this is not possible, medical staff may wish to contact witnesses by phone, with your permission, to gather additional information.