Aims: Aim of the present study was the development and the subsequent validation of a simple risk classification system for patients presenting with syncope to the emergency departments.
Methods and results: A group of 270 consecutive patients (145 females, mean age 59.5 years) presenting with syncope to the emergency departments of six community hospitals of the Lazio region of Italy was used as a derivation cohort for the development of the risk classification system. Data from the baseline clinical history, physical examination and electrocardiogram were used to identify independent predictors of total mortality within the first 12 months after the initial evaluation. Multivariate analysis allowed the recognition of the following predictors of mortality: (1) age >65 years; (2) cardiovascular disease in clinical history; (3) syncope without prodromes; and (4) abnormal electrocardiogram. The OESIL (Osservatorio Epidemiologico sulla Sincope nel Lazio) score was calculated by the simple arithmetic sum of the number of predictors present in every single patient. Mortality increased significantly as the score increased in the derivation cohort (0% for a score of 0, 0.8% for 1 point; 19.6% for 2 points; 34.7% for 3 points; 57.1% for 4 points; p<0,0001 for trend). A similar pattern of increasing mortality with increasing score was prospectively confirmed in a second validation cohort of 328 consecutive patients (178 females; mean age, 57.5 years).
Conclusions: Clinical and electrocardiographic data available at presentation to the emergency department can be used for the risk stratification of patients with syncope. The OESIL risk score may represent a simple prognostication tool that could be usefully employed for the triage and management of patients with syncope in emergency departments.