Isr Med Assoc J. 2023 Jun;25(6):421-425.
BACKGROUND: The evaluation of syncope in emergency departments (EDs) and during hospitalization can be ineffective. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines were established to perform the evaluation based on risk stratification.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether the initial screening of syncope adheres to the recent ESC guidelines.
METHODS: Patients with syncope who were evaluated in our ED were included in the study and retrospectively classified based on whether they were treated according to ESC guidelines. Patients were divided into two groups according to the ESC guideline risk profile: high risk or low risk.
RESULTS: The study included 114 patients (age 50.6 ± 21.9 years, 43% females); 74 (64.9%) had neurally mediated syncope, 11 (9.65%) had cardiac syncope, and 29 (25.45%) had an unknown cause. The low-risk group included 70 patients (61.4%), and the high-risk group included 44 (38.6%). Only 48 patients (42.1%) were evaluated according to the ESC guidelines. In fact, 22 (36.7%) of 60 hospitalizations and 41 (53.2%) of 77 head computed tomography (CT) scans were not mandatory according to guidelines. The rate of unnecessary CT scans (67.3% vs. 28.6%, respectively, P = 0.001) and unnecessary hospitalization (66.7% vs. 6.7%, respectively, P < 0.02) were higher among low-risk patients than high-risk patients. Overall, a higher percentage of high-risk patients were treated according to guidelines compared to low-risk patients (68.2% vs. 25.7% respectively, P < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Most syncope patients, particularly those with a low-risk profile, were not evaluated in accordance with the ESC guidelines.