Risk stratification of syncope: Current syncope guidelines and beyond

Link to article at PubMed

Auton Neurosci. 2021 Dec 23;238:102929. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2021.102929. Online ahead of print.


Syncope is an alarming event carrying the possibility of serious outcomes, including sudden cardiac death (SCD). Therefore, immediate risk stratification should be applied whenever syncope occurs, especially in the Emergency Department, where most dramatic presentations occur. It has long been known that short- and long-term syncope prognosis is affected not only by its mechanism but also by presence of concomitant conditions, especially cardiovascular disease. Over the last two decades, several syncope prediction tools have been developed to refine patient stratification and triage patients who need expert in-hospital care from those who may receive nonurgent expert care in the community. However, despite promising results, prognostic tools for syncope remain challenging and often poorly effective. Current European Society of Cardiology syncope guidelines recommend an initial syncope workup based on detailed patient's history, physical examination supine and standing blood pressure, resting ECG, and laboratory tests, including cardiac biomarkers, where appropriate. Subsequent risk stratification based on screening of features aims to identify three groups: high-, intermediate- and low-risk. The first should immediately be hospitalized and appropriately investigated; intermediate group, with recurrent or medium-risk events, requires systematic evaluation by syncope experts; low-risk group, sporadic reflex syncope, merits education about its benign nature, and discharge. Thus, initial syncope risk stratification is crucial as it determines how and by whom syncope patients are managed. This review summarizes the crucial elements of syncope risk stratification, pros and cons of proposed risk evaluation scores, major challenges in initial syncope management, and how risk stratification impacts management of high-risk/recurrent syncope.

PMID:34968831 | DOI:10.1016/j.autneu.2021.102929

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