Introduction: There are limited and conflicting data on the lifetime cumulative incidence of syncope in the general population. The aim of our study was to determine the lifetime cumulative incidence and triggers of syncope in the general population.
Methods: Questions about syncope were added to a cross-sectional survey on cardiovascular risk factors carried out between 2001 and 2003 in 549 native Dutch respondents, aged 35-60 years.
Results: The lifetime cumulative incidence of syncope in our study population was 35% (95% confidence interval 31-39%). Syncope occurred more often in women than in men (41% vs 28%; P = 0.003). A peak in the incidence of syncope occurred around the age of 15 years in both men and women. The median number of episodes in persons with syncope was 2 (Inter Quartile Range 1-5). The top five most frequently mentioned triggers of syncope included warm environment, pain, insufficient food intake, seeing blood/venipuncture, and emotion.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our study shows that the lifetime cumulative incidence of syncope in the general population is high. Females experience syncope more often than males. The majority of the syncope triggers were related to conditions that affect orthostatic blood pressure regulation and vasomotor responses.