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J Pak Med Assoc. 2018 Mar;68(3):364-369.

The effectiveness of using magnetic resonance imaging in syncope patients visiting an emergency department: A case-control study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.
Department of Neurology, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.



To evaluate the effectiveness of brain magnetic resonance imaging in excluding neurological causes in patients with syncope.


This retrospective, observational, cohort study was conducted at the Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, South Korea, and comprised medical record of patients with syncope from January 2011 to February 2016. The ratio of abnormal findings, the characteristics of the patients who showed abnormal findings and the relationships between the presence of neurological problem and other clinical factors were analysed. SPSS 18 was used for statistical analysis.


Of the 1,045 patients, 142(13.5%) underwent additional magnetic resonance imaging. The results showed that 15(10.6%) patients had abnormal findings indicating neurological problems; of them, 9(60%) showed vascular stenosis, 4(27%) showed cerebral infarction, and 2(13%) showed brain tumours. The neurological problems shown were significantly higher for older patients (p=0.006) and those with the underlying diseases of hypertension (p=0.014) and coronary artery disease (p=0.008). Of these patients in particular, age (p=0.036) and history of coronary artery disease (p=0.029) were significantly associated with abnormal findings in their magnetic resonance imaging.


Although there are no specific neurological examinations or computed tomography findings currently used in patients with syncope in the emergency department, magnetic resonance imaging may be performed to exclude neurological causes in older patients as well as those with a history of coronary artery disease.


Syncope, Emergency department, Brain magnetic resonance imaging, Age, Coronary artery disease.

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