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KCAL meteorologist who fainted on TV reveals diagnosis

A meteorologist with a Paramount-owned television station in Los Angeles says she has been diagnosed with a medical condition that commonly causes fainting.

The revelation came a few days after Alissa Carlson with KCAL (Channel 9) fainted during a live morning show broadcast on sister-station KCBS (Channel 2).

The incident happened shortly after 7 a.m. when Carlson’s co-anchors were transitioning from the show’s opening segment to a short explainer about an upcoming storm.

During the transition, Carlson’s eyes rolled into the back of her head, she slumped forward, and then fell to the floor with an audible thud.

KCAL quickly went to a commercial break, then canceled the remainder of the morning show, electing to air public service announcement and station promotions before the start of the CBS network’s NCAA March Madness coverage.

Station officials said Carlson was rushed to a local hospital for treatment. She later took to social media to reassure viewers that she was recovering from a non-traumatic head injury.

This week, Carlson appeared on the “CBS Morning” program to reveal her fainting spell was caused by a previous diagnosis of vasovagal syncope, which can cause fainting spells based on certain triggers.

Carlson said the morning of her episode, she did not have breakfast and drank “a lot of coffee,” and for that reason, she may have been dehydrated.

The condition kicks in when the body is overstimulated based on certain factors, though dehydration can also cause fainting spurred by vasovagal syncope.

Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent at CBS News, said Carlson tried to power through the issue as much as possible, but her decision to play off her illness probably made things worse.

“Especially in this situation, you’re embarrassed, right? ‘I’m going to just I’m going to sit up and look normal,'” Dr. LaPook said during a CBS Morning segment. “That’s the worst thing you can do. You want to get flat, so your heart is at the same level as your head, and it’s pumping the blood (horizontally).”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).