Purpose: Our current understanding of the prevalence of syncope is based on a few small studies of highly selected populations. We sought to estimate the prevalence and recurrence rate of syncope in the general population aged more than 45 years and to analyze their associations with age and sex.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey of 1925 randomly selected residents of Olmsted County, Minn, 45 years or older, from January 1998 to August 2000.
Results: The median age of the 1925 participants was 62 years, and 905 (47.0%) were male. Overall, 364 subjects reported an episode of syncope in their lifetime, giving an estimated prevalence of 19% (95% confidence interval, 17%-21%). The age-specific prevalence rates were 45 to 54 years (20%), 55 to 64 years (20%), 65 to 74 years (15%), and 75 years or more (21%) (P = .86). Females reported a higher prevalence of syncope (22% vs 15%, P < .001).
Conclusions: The prevalence of syncope is estimated at 19% in the general population aged more than 45 years. Females have a higher prevalence, and there is no association of syncope prevalence with age.