Leipothymia, (from Lipothymia 4737 to leave, and the mind). Fainting. Deliguium animi, defectio, exanimatio, syncope, asphyxia; virium lapsus; in a greater degree, apopsychia, and echysis; syncope of Dr. Cullen, who places it in the class neuroses, order adynamic; defining it the motion of the heart diminished, or at rest for some time. The species are, 1. Syncope cardiaca, when it often returns without any evident cause, with violent palpitations of the heart at intervals; from some fault of the heart, or contiguous vessels. 2. Syncope occasionalis, when it arises from a manifest cause, from an affection of the whole system. Each is styled idiopathic: the symptomatic species are, syncope febrilis, exanthematica; stomachica; hysterica; arthritica; scorbutica. The ancients named it cardia, when caused by anger: and what we termed syncope they called Cardiaca passio, q. v.

In this disease the pulse and respiration become suddenly weaker than usual, and, to the perception of the attendants, seem often wholly to cease. In its slightest degree the patient constantly perceives and understands, without the power of speaking; and this often happens to those who are disturbed with flatulencies, without any remarkable alteration in the pulse. - If he loses his feeling and understanding, with a considerable sinking of the pulse, it is called a syncope. If so violent that the pulse seems totally to have ceased, without any discernible breathing, and a manifest coldness of the whole body, with a wan livid countenance, it is sometimes followed by death, and called an asphixy, or a total resolution. This last degree, in most instances, constitutes, according to Dr. Cullen's arrangement, varieties of apoplexy, and these chiefly of the species which he calls venenata.

The causes are either an excess or a deficiency of blood, a loaded or disordered stomach, violent pains, nervous complaints, passions of the mind, a polypus in some of the principal blood vessels, and opiates, or active deleterious medicines, or effluvia.

The different degrees of this disorder should be distinguished from hysteric fits, epilepsy and the apoplexy. In the two former diseases there are generally spasms; in the latter the breathing continues, and is laborious, or stertorous. When either disease is without these appropriate symptoms it becomes syncope, or distinction is of little importance, as the remedies are the same.

Those subject to frequent faintings, without any manifest cause, usually die suddenly, and polypi are found in the large blood vessels. When anger, in weak persons, or worms, is the cause, the disease is dangerous.

During the fit, cold water, or vinegar and water, may be sprinkled on the face, and a little of the same poured down the throat. Strong vinegar, or volatile spirit, may be held under the nostrils, the extremities well rubbed, and', as soon as the power of swallowing returns, a glass of wine, brandy and water, of fetid tincture, or of the spirit of hartshorn with water may be given.

When the fit is over, the cause must be diligently examined, and the morbid state of the system, from which it seems to arise, will determine the plan of treatment. When no distinct cause can be assigned, when the face is livid, and the breathing difficult; when the left hand is cold, and the patient cannot be easy on either side; when it is brought on by extraordinary exertions, by exercise, or whatever increases the circulation through the lungs, we have much reason to fear that it proceeds from an affection of the heart. This is sometimes an enlargement of its cavities, or its contiguous vessels; sometimes an accumulation of water in the pericardium or lungs, or ossifications of the valves. In such circumstances medicine is of little avail. Small bleedings, easy laxatives, camphor, with nitre, and whatever lessens the impetus of the blood, are advantageous. The most perfect repose of body and mind, the mildest food, and the most cooling liquors, are necessary. A blister from some part of the chest has also been found of service.

It often happens, however, that syncope arises from fulness of the stomach and bowels, and, in the greater number of cases, emetics, with repeated laxatives, will succeed. These, at least, should be tried before the patient is alarmed with apprehensions of a topical affection of the heart.

Excess or deficiency of blood are obvious causes, and easily removed, at least for a time; but one less within our power is that general mobility of the system where every excitement is followed by a proportional sinking. Tonics and cold bathing will have some effect; but the cure is only found in the torpor of advancing years. See Asphyxia.