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Europace. 2003 Jul;5(3):293-8.

Management of syncope referred urgently to general hospitals with and without syncope units.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cardiology, Ospedale del Tigullio, Lavagna, Italy. mbrignole@as14.liguria.it

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We tested the hypothesis that management of patients with syncope admitted urgently to a general hospital may be influenced by the presence of an in-hospital structured syncope unit.

BACKGROUND:

The management of syncope is not standardized. Methods We compared six hospitals equipped with a syncope unit organized inside the department of cardiology with six matched hospitals without such facilities. The study enroled all consecutive patients referred to the emergency room from 5 November 2001 to 7 December 2001 who were affected by transient loss of consciousness as their principal symptom.

RESULTS:

There were 279 patients in the syncope unit hospitals and 274 in the control hospitals. In the study group, 30 (11%) patients were referred to the syncope unit for evaluation. In the study group, 12% fewer patients were hospitalized (43 vs 49%, not significant) and 8% fewer tests were performed (3.3+/-2.2 vs 3.6+/-2.2 per patient, not significant). In particular, the study group patients underwent fewer basic laboratory tests (75 vs 86%, P=0.002), fewer brain-imaging examinations (17 vs 24%, P=0.05), fewer echocardiograms (11 vs 16%, P=0.04), more carotid sinus massage (13 vs 8%, P=0.03) and more tilt testing (8 vs 1%, P=0.000). In the study group, there was a +56% rate of final diagnosis of neurally mediated syncope (56 vs 36%, P=0.000).

CONCLUSION:

Although only a minority of patients admitted as an emergency are referred to the syncope unit, overall management is substantially affected. It is speculated that the use of a standardized approach, such as that typically adopted in the syncope unit, is able to influence overall practice in the hospital.

PMID:
12842646
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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