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עמוד בית
Sun, 21.07.24

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume 10

Journal 2, February 2008
pages: 104-108

Admission for Syncope: Evaluation, Cost and Prognosis According to Etiology


    Background: Syncope is a common clinical problem that often remains undiagnosed despite extensive and expensive diagnostic evaluation.

    Objectives: To assess the diagnostic evaluation, costs and prognosis of patients hospitalized for syncope in a tertiary referral center according to discharge diagnosis.

    Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with a diagnosis of syncope discharged from a tertiary referral center in 1999. In addition, mortality data were obtained retrospectively a year after discharge for each patient.

    Results: The study group comprised 376 patients. Discharge etiologies were as follows: vasovagal 26.6%, cardiac 17.3%, neurological 4.3%, metabolic 0.5%, unexplained 47.3%, and other 4%. A total of 345 patients were admitted to the internal medicine department, 28 to the intensive cardiac care unit, and 3 to the neurology department. Cardiac and neurological tests were performed more often than other tests, with a higher yield in patients with cardiac and neurological etiologies respectively. The mean evaluation cost was 11,210 ± 8133 shekels, and was higher in the ICCU[1] than in internal medicine wards (19,210 ± 11,855 vs. 10,443 ± 7314 shekels, respectively; P = 0.0015). Mean in-hospital stay was 4.9 ± 4.2 days, which was longer in the ICCU than in medicine wards (7.2 ± 5.6 vs. 4.6 ± 3.5 days, respectively; P = 0.024). Short-term mortality rates (30 days after discharge) and long-term mortality rates (1 year after discharge) were 1.9% and 8.8% respectively, and differed according to discharge etiology. LTM[2] rates were significantly higher in patients discharged with cardiac, neurological and unknown etiologies (not for vasovagal), compared with the general population of Israel (1 year mortality rate for the age-adjusted [65 years] general population = 2.2%). The LTM rate was higher in patients discharged with a cardiac etiology than in those with a non-cardiac etiology (15.4% vs. 7.4%, P = 0.04). Higher short and long-term mortality rates were associated with higher evaluation costs.

    Conclusions: Hospitalization in a tertiary referral center for syncope is associated with increased mortality for most etiologies (except vasovagal), cardiac more than non-cardiac. Despite high costs of inpatient evaluation, associated with more diagnostic tests, longer in-hospital stay and higher mortality rates, nearly half of the patients were discharged undiagnosed. Outpatient evaluation should be considered when medically possible.

    [1] ICCU = Intensive Cardiac Care Unit
    [2] LTM = long-term mortality

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