Prospective multicentre systematic guideline-based management of patients referred to the Syncope Units of general hospitals.
Europace. 2010 Jan;12(1):109-18
Authors: Brignole M, Ungar A, Casagranda I, Gulizia M, Lunati M, Ammirati F, Del Rosso A, Sasdelli M, Santini M, Maggi R, Vitale E, Morrione A, Francese GM, Vecchi MR, Giada F,
AIMS: Although an organizational model for syncope management facilities was proposed in the 2004 guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), its implementation in clinical practice and its effectiveness are largely unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: This prospective study enrolled 941 consecutive patients referred to the Syncope Units of nine general hospitals from 15 March 2008 to 15 September 2008. A median of 15 patients per month were examined in each unit, but the five older units had a two-fold higher volume of activity than the four newer ones (instituted <1 year before): 23 vs. 12, P = 0.02. These figures give an estimated volume of 163 and 60 patients per 100,000 inhabitants per year, respectively. Referrals: 60% from out-of-hospital services, 11% immediate and 13% delayed referrals from the Emergency Department, and 16% hospitalized patients. A diagnosis was established on initial evaluation in 191 (21%) patients and early by means of 2.9 +/- 1.6 tests in 541 (61%) patients. A likely reflex cause was established in 67%, orthostatic hypotension in 4%, cardiac in 6% and non-syncopal in 5% of the cases. The cause of syncope remained unexplained in 159 (18%) patients, despite a mean of 3.5 +/- 1.8 tests per patient. These latter patients were older, more frequently had structural heart disease or electrocardiographic abnormalities, unpredictable onset of syncope due to the lack of prodromes, and higher OESIL and EGSIS risk scores than the other groups of patients. The mean costs of diagnostic evaluation was 209 euro per outpatient and 1073 euro per inpatient. The median cost of hospital stay was 2990 euro per patient. CONCLUSION: We documented the current practice of syncope management in specialized facilities that have adopted the management model proposed by the ESC. The results are useful for those who wish to replicate this model in other hospitals. Syncope remains unexplained during in-hospital evaluation in more complex cases at higher risk.
PMID: 19948566 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]