Syncope: Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis.
Am Fam Physician. 2017 Mar 01;95(5):303-312
Authors: Runser LA, Gauer RL, Houser A
Syncope is an abrupt and transient loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoperfusion. It accounts for 1% to 1.5% of emergency department visits, resulting in high hospital admission rates and significant medical costs. Syncope is classified as neurally mediated, cardiac, and orthostatic hypotension. Neurally mediated syncope is the most common type and has a benign course, whereas cardiac syncope is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Patients with presyncope have similar prognoses to those with syncope and should undergo a similar evaluation. A standardized approach to syncope evaluation reduces hospital admissions and medical costs, and increases diagnostic accuracy. The initial assessment for all patients presenting with syncope includes a detailed history, physical examination, and electrocardiography. The initial evaluation may diagnose up to 50% of patients and allows immediate short-term risk stratification. Laboratory testing and neuroimaging have a low diagnostic yield and should be ordered only if clinically indicated. Several comparable clinical decision rules can be used to assess the short-term risk of death and the need for hospital admission. Low-risk patients with a single episode of syncope can often be reassured with no further investigation. High-risk patients with cardiovascular or structural heart disease, history concerning for arrhythmia, abnormal electrocardiographic findings, or severe comorbidities should be admitted to the hospital for further evaluation. In cases of unexplained syncope, provocative testing and prolonged electrocardiographic monitoring strategies can be diagnostic. The treatment of neurally mediated and orthostatic hypotension syncope is largely supportive, although severe cases may require pharmacotherapy. Cardiac syncope may require cardiac device placement or ablation.
PMID: 28290647 [PubMed - in process]