Objective To develop, in patients referred for syncope to emergency department (ED), a diagnostic score to identify those patients likely to have a cardiac cause.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting ED of 14 general hospitals.
Patients 516 consecutive patients with unexplained syncope.
Interventions Subjects underwent a diagnostic evaluation on adherence to Guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology. The clinical features of syncope were analysed using a standard 52-item form. In a validation cohort of 260 patients the predictive value of symptoms/signs was evaluated, a point score was developed and then validated in a cohort of other 256 patients.
Main outcome measurements Diagnosis of cardiac syncope, mortality.
Results Abnormal ECG and/or heart disease, palpitations before syncope, syncope during effort or in supine position, absence of autonomic prodromes, and absence of predisposing and/or precipitating factors were found predictors of cardiac syncope. To each variable a score from +4 to -1 was assigned on the magnitude of regression coefficient. A score ≥ 3 identified cardiac syncope with a sensitivity of 95%-92% and a specificity of 61%-69% in the derivation and validation cohort respectively. During follow up (614 ± 73 days) patients with score ≥ 3 had a higher total mortality than the patients with a score < 3 both in the derivation (17% vs 3%; p< .0002) and in the validation cohort (21% vs 2%; p<.00002).
Conclusions A simple score derived from clinical history can be usefully employed for the triage and management of patients with syncope in ED.
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