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Adams-Stokes attack are frequently tested in USMLE Step 2 CK. However, the buzzword may not appear in the question and its clinical description is rather seen.

This is basically an asystole where the heart stops beating for a while. As a result cardiac output ceases and you get a pallor in the skin and brain hypoxia causing the faint or even sometimes seizures.

There are two important tricks that you need to remember for the USMLE:

First: Differentiate this attack from epileptic seizures and other causes of loss of consciousness. Clues are the lack of respiratory difficulty, no prodrome, no postictal sleep, EKG abnormalities, the pallor, and the flushing (patient feels hot and looks red) after the attack.

Second: You have to know which type of heart block usually predisposes to this attack. It's Type II and Type III. Type I does not usually cause Adams-Stokes.
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