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עמוד בית
Wed, 24.07.24

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April 2024
Raymond Farah MD, Dvir Novak MD, Rola Khamisy-Farah MD

Background: Syncope is responsible for approximately 1–3% of all emergency department (ED) visits and up to 6% of all hospital admissions in the United States. Although often of no long-term consequence, syncope can be the first presentation of a range of serious conditions such as strokes, tumors, or subarachnoid hemorrhages. Head computed tomography (CT) scanning is therefore commonly ordered in the ED for patients presenting with syncope to rule out any of these conditions, which may present without other associated physical or neurological findings on initial examination. However, the diagnostic yield of head CTs in patients presenting with syncope is unclear.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic yield of head CT in the ED in patients with syncope.

Methods: We conducted an observational analytical retrospective cross-sectional study on 360 patients diagnosed with syncope who underwent a head CT to determine the diagnostic yield of syncope to determine whether head CT is necessary for every patient presenting with syncope to the ED.

Results: The total of new CT findings was 11.4%. Percentages varied between men (12.8%) and women (9.7%), P = 0.353. There were no significant differences between sexes regarding the findings in head CT, yet the incidence increased, especially among elderly males.

Conclusions: Age had a more significant impact on diagnostic yield of syncope than head CT. The use of a head CT scan as a routine diagnosis tool in patients with syncope is unjustifiable unless there is an indication based on medical history or physical examination.

June 2023
Ibrahim Marai MD, Josef Steier MD, lia Novic MD, Ali Sakhnini MD, Liza Grosman-Rimon, Batsheva Tzadok MD

Background: The evaluation of syncope in emergency departments (EDs) and during hospitalization can be ineffective. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines were established to perform the evaluation based on risk stratification.

Objectives: To investigate whether the initial screening of syncope adheres to the recent ESC guidelines.

Methods: Patients with syncope who were evaluated in our ED were included in the study and retrospectively classified based on whether they were treated according to ESC guidelines. Patients were divided into two groups according to the ESC guideline risk profile: high risk or low risk.

Results: The study included 114 patients (age 50.6 ± 21.9 years, 43% females); 74 (64.9%) had neurally mediated syncope, 11 (9.65%) had cardiac syncope, and 29 (25.45%) had an unknown cause. The low-risk group included 70 patients (61.4%), and the high-risk group included 44 (38.6%). Only 48 patients (42.1%) were evaluated according to the ESC guidelines. In fact, 22 (36.7%) of 60 hospitalizations and 41 (53.2%) of 77 head computed tomography (CT) scans were not mandatory according to guidelines. The rate of unnecessary CT scans (67.3% vs. 28.6%, respectively, P = 0.001) and unnecessary hospitalization (66.7% vs. 6.7%, respectively, P < 0.02) were higher among low-risk patients than high-risk patients. Overall, a higher percentage of high-risk patients were treated according to guidelines compared to low-risk patients (68.2% vs. 25.7% respectively, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Most syncope patients, particularly those with a low-risk profile, were not evaluated in accordance with the ESC guidelines.

Majdi Halabi MD, Hagar Drimer-Shabtai MD, Inna Rosenfeld MD, Adi Sharabi-Nov MA MPH, Mussa Saad MD, Ibrahim Marai MD, Ziad Abuiznait MD, Ayelet Armon-Omer PhD, Zippi Regev-Avraham PhD, Zeev Israeli MD

Background: Implantable loop recorders (ILRs) are a central tool in the evaluation of unexplained syncope. These devices record and store electrocardiograms, both automatically and on patient-dependent activation. Therefore, obtaining optimal diagnostic results relies on a patient's comprehension and collaboration.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of ethnic background and mother-tongue language on the diagnostic yield (DY) of ILRs.

Methods: Patients at two medical centers in Israel, who had ILRs as part of syncope workup were included. Inclusion criteria were age over 18 years and an ILR for at least one year (or less if the cause of syncope was detected). Patient demographics, ethnic background, and previous medical history were recorded. All findings from ILR recordings, activation mode (manual vs. automatic), and treatment decisions (none, ablation, device implantation) were collected.

Results: The study comprised 94 patients, 62 Jews (i.e., ethnic majority) and 32 non-Jews (i.e., ethnic minority). While baseline demographic characteristics, medical history, and drug therapy were similar in both groups, Jewish patients were significantly older at the time of device implantation: 64.3 ± 16.0 years of age vs. 50.6 ± 16.9, respectively; (P < 0.001). Arrhythmias recorded in both groups as well as treatment decisions and device activation mode were similar. Total follow-up time from device implantation was longer in the non-Jewish vs. the Jewish group (17.5 ± 12.2 vs. 24.0 ± 12.4 months, respectively; P < 0.017).

Conclusions: The DY of ILR implanted for unexplained syncope did not seem to be influenced by patient's mother-tongue language or ethnicity.

July 2021
Osama Muhtaseb MD, Evan Avraham Alpert MD, and Shamai A. Grossman MD MS

Background: Syncope is a common reason for emergency department (ED) visits; however, the decision to admit or discharge patients after a syncopal episode remains challenging for emergency physicians. Decision rules such as the Boston Syncope Criteria have been developed in an attempt to aid clinicians in identifying high-risk patients as well as those who can be safely discharged, but applying these rules to different populations remains unclear.

Objectives: To determine whether the Boston Syncope Criteria are valid for emergency department patients in Israel.

Methods: This retrospective cohort convenience sample included patients who visited a tertiary care hospital in Jerusalem from August 2018 to July 2019 with a primary diagnosis of syncope. Thirty-day follow-up was performed using a national health system database. The Boston Syncope Criteria were retrospectively applied to each patient to determine whether they were at high risk for an adverse outcome or critical intervention, versus low risk and could be discharged.

Results: A total of 198 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria and completed follow-up. Of these, 21 patients had either an adverse outcome or critical intervention. The rule detected 20/21 with a sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 66%, and a negative predictive value of 99%.

Conclusions: The Boston Syncope Criteria may be useful for physicians in other locations throughout the world to discharge low-risk syncope patients as well as identify those at risk of complications

January 2017
Gustavo Goldenberg MD, Tamir Bental MD, Udi Kadmon MD, Ronit Zabarsky MD, Jairo Kusnick MD, Alon Barsheshet MD, Gregory Golovchiner MD and Boris Strasberg MD

Background: Syncope prognosis varies widely: 1 year mortality may range from 0% in the case of vasovagal events up to 30% in the presence of heart disease. 

Objectives: To assess the outcomes and prognosis of patients with implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) and indication of primary prevention and compare patients presenting with or without prior syncope.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of 75 patients who underwent ICD implantation with the indication of primary prevention and history of syncope and compared them to a control group of 80 patients without prior syncope. We assessed the number of ventricular tachycardia (VT), ventricular fibrillation (VF), shock, anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP), and death in each group during the follow-up.

Results: Mean follow-up was 893 days (810–976, 95% confidence interval) (no difference between groups). Patients with prior syncope had a higher ejection fraction (EF) (35.5 ± 12.6 vs. 31.4 ± 8.76, P = 0.02), more episodes of VT (21.3% vs. 3.8%, P = 0.001) and VF (8% vs. 0%, P = 0.01) and also received more electric shocks (18.7% vs. 3.8%, P = 0.004) and ATP (17.3% vs. 6.2%, P = 0.031). There were no differences in inappropriate shocks (6.7% vs. 5%, P = 0.74), in cardiovascular mortality (cumulative 5 year estimate 29.9% vs. 32.2% P = 0.97) and any death (cumulative 5 year estimate 38.1% vs. 48.9% P = 0.18) during the follow-up.

Conclusions: Syncopal patients before ICD implantation seem to have more episodes of VT/VF and shock or ATP. No mortality differences were observed

 

June 2016
Gustavo Goldenberg MD, Tamir Bental MD, Udi Kadmon MD, Ronit Zabarsky MD, Jairo Kusnick MD, Alon Barsheshet MD, Gregory Golovchiner MD and Boris Strasberg MD

Background: Syncope is a common clinical condition spanning from benign to life-threatening diseases. There is sparse information on the outcomes of syncopal patients who received an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death (SCD). 

Objectives: To assess the outcomes and prognosis of patients who underwent implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) implantation for primary prevention of SCD and compare them to patients who presented with or without prior syncope.

Methods: We compared the medical records of 75 patients who underwent ICD implantation for primary prevention of SCD and history of syncope to those of a similar group of 80 patients without prior syncope. We assessed the episodes of ventricular tachycardia (VT), ventricular fibrillation (VF), shock, anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP) and mortality in each group during follow-up.

Results: Mean follow-up was 893 days (810–976, 95%CI) (no difference between groups). There was no significant difference in gender or age. Patients with prior syncope had a higher ejection fraction rate (35.5 ± 12.6 vs. 31.4 ± 8.76, P = 0.02), experienced more episodes of VT (21.3% vs. 3.8%, P = 0.001) and VF (8% vs. 0%, P = 0.01), and received more electric shocks (18.7% vs. 3.8%, P = 0.004) and ATP (17.3% vs. 6.2%, P = 0.031). There were no differences in inappropriate shocks (6.7% vs. 5%, P = 0.74), cardiovascular mortality (cumulative 5 year estimate 29.9% vs. 32.2%, P = 0.97) and any death (cumulative 5 year estimate 38.1% vs. 48.9%, P = 0.18).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with syncope before ICD implantation seemed to have more episodes of VT/VF and shock or ATP. No differences in mortality were observed

 

November 2015
Therese Fuchs MD and Amram Torjman MSc

Background: Brief episodes of atrial tachycardia are a common finding in the Holter monitor recordings of elderly patients. Episodes of atrial tachycardia may convert to atrial fibrillation. Current guidelines do not recommend anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial tachycardia and risk factors for embolism. 

Objectives: To assess the incidence of atrial tachycardia in a 24 hour Holter monitor recording of patients admitted to hospital with ischemic stroke. 

Methods: The patient cohort included two groups: 134 patients admitted with a diagnosis of ischemic stroke (the study group), and 68 consecutive patients admitted with a diagnosis of syncope (the control group). Both groups used a Holter monitor.

Results: There was no difference in the incidence of atrial tachycardia runs between the groups. Patients who suffered a stroke were more likely to be hypertensive (P < 0.05) and more likely to have a CHA2DS2-VASc score of ≥ 3 (P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Atrial tachycardia as recorded on a Holter monitor was not more prevalent in patients presenting with ischemic stroke. The occurrence of atrial tachycardia is not an indication for systemic anticoagulation. 

 

October 2015
Haim Shmilovich MD, Svetlana Trestman MD, Stella Bak MD, Galit Aviram MD, Shmuel Banai MD, Arie Steinvil MD and Gad Keren MD
August 2012
E. Kadmon, D. Menachemi, J. Kusniec, M. Haim, M. Geist and B. Strasberg

Background: The implantable loop recorder (ILR) is an important tool for the evaluation of unexplained syncope, particularly in cases of rarely occurring arrhythmia.

Objectives: To review the clinical experience of two Israeli medical centers with the ILR. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of patients with unexplained syncope evaluated with the ILR at Rabin Medical Center (2006–2010) and Wolfson Medical Center (2000–2009).

Results: The study group included 75 patients (44 males) followed for 11.9 ± 9.5 months after ILR implantation. Patients’ mean age was 64 ± 20 years. The ILR identified an arrhythmic mechanism of syncope in 20 patients (17 bradyarrhythmias, 3 tachyarrhythmias) and excluded arrhythmias in 12, for a diagnostic yield of 42.7%. It was not diagnostic in 17 patients (22.7%) at the time of explant 26 patients (34.7%) were still in follow-up. In two patients ILR results that were initially negative were reversed by later ILR tracings. The patients with bradyarrhythmias included 9 of 16 (56.3%) with surface electrocardiogram conduction disturbances and 2 of 12 (16.7%) with negative findings on carotid sinus massage. All bradyarrhythmic patients received pacemakers the seven patients for whom post-intervention data were available had no or mild symptoms.

Conclusions: The ILR has a high diagnostic yield. Pre-ILR findings correlating with the ILR results are conduction disturbances (positive predictor of arrhythmia) and negative carotid sinus massage results (negative predictor of arrhythmia). Proper patient instruction is necessary to obtain accurate results. Caution is advised when excluding an arrhythmia on the basis of ILR tracings, and long-term follow-up is warranted.

July 2008
A. Shalev, L. Zeller, O. Galante, A. Shimony, H. Gilutz and R. Illia
February 2008
A Shiyovich, I. Munchak, J. Zelingher, A. Grosbard and A. Katz

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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