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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2010 Dec;21(12):1375-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2010.01848.x.

Recent history of vasovagal syncope in a young, referral-based population is a stronger predictor of recurrent syncope than lifetime syncope burden.

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Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



accurate selection of patients for vasovagal syncope studies requires strong risk stratification and knowledge of the natural history of syncope. We aimed to test the hypothesis that recent history of vasovagal syncope compared to distant history better predicts subsequent recurrence of syncope.


in all, 208 subjects with a positive tilt test and ≥ 3 lifetime syncope spells were followed for 1 year. Syncope episodes in the preceding year and total historical spells were compared for their ability to predict a syncope recurrence using the criteria of optimal statistical significance, best linear separation of risk populations, and impact on power calculations. The number of vasovagal syncope spells in the preceding year better predicted syncope recurrence when compared to total number of historical spells (likelihood ratio statistic 28.4, P < 0.0001; versus 20.4, P = 0.001), and showed a substantial effect as the number of syncope events increased. For example, syncope recurred in 22% of those with <2 spells in the previous year compared to 69% in those with >6 spells. A history of no syncope compared to any syncope in the preceding year was associated with a 1-year probability of 7% versus 46% for syncope recurrence. A study designed to detect a 50% decrease in syncope recurrence at P = 0.05 with 80% power would require 159 patients with at least 3 lifetime spells, and only 108 patients with at least 3 spells in the previous year.


the number of syncope events in the year preceding clinical evaluation is the best predictor of syncope recurrence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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