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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2011 Nov;34(11):1486-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03169.x.

The risk for syncope and presyncope during surgery in surgeons and nurses.

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  • 1Department of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Proctology, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland.



Surgeons and nurses are exposed to orthostatic stress.


To assess the lifetime incidence of syncopal and presyncopal events during surgery in operation room staff and reveal the predicting factors.


The study included 317 subjects (161 F, 156 M) aged 43.9 ± 9.6; 216 surgeons and 101 instrumenters. The study included filling of an anonymous questionnaire on the syncope and presyncope history.


At least one syncopal event during operation was reported by 4.7% and presyncope by 14.8% of the studied population. All but one subject reported prodromal symptoms before syncope. In the medical history, syncope outside the operating room was reported by 11% of the studied group. Syncope and presyncope during operation was related to syncope in the medical history outside the operation room, respectively: odds ratio (OR) 20.2 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0-70.5 and OR 10.8; CI: 5.0-23.4 and to presyncope in the medical history, respectively: OR 23.5; CI: 7.4-74.4 OR 8.9; CI: 3.6-11.2 (P < 0.001).


(1) Syncope and presyncope may occur during surgery in the staff of the operating room. (2) Syncope in the operating room is usually preceded by prodromal symptoms and has vasovagal origin. (3) Both lower then expected occurrence of syncope in the operating room staff and absence of any difference between genders in this regard indicate preselection in the process of choosing profession and specialization. (4) Syncope and presyncope outside the operating room in medical history increases the risk of syncope and presyncope inside the operation room.

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