Transient ischemic attack-related syncope

Clin Cardiol. 1991 Feb;14(2):141-4. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960140210.


The records of 483 patients admitted to the emergency room because of syncope were reviewed. Thirty seven patients (7.7%) were found to suffer from transient ischemic attack- (TIA) related syncope. This group is the subject of this report. Of these patients, 28 (76%) were men (mean age 71 years). Seven patients reported previous syncopal episodes. Past history revealed a high rate of ischemic heart disease (70%) and hypertension (68%). Concurrent neurologic symptoms, which led to the diagnosis of TIA-related syncope, included mainly vertebrobasilar symptoms: vertigo (in 55% of the patients), ataxia (46%), parasthesia (41%). Two patients most probably were presenting bilateral carotid artery disease. Various diagnostic tests (including electroencephalography, computed tomography, sonography, and cerebral angiography) were used to exclude other causes of syncope. During follow-up (mean 14.5 months) four patients (11%) had an additional episode of TIA and in three of them syncope reappeared. One patient had a complete stroke. We conclude that TIA is a much more frequent explanation for syncope than has been previously argued. These patients tend to be elderly males with high incidence of ischemic heart disease and hypertension. The concurrent neurologic symptoms, leading to the diagnosis, represent mainly vertebrobasilar territory ischemia.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / etiology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Syncope / physiopathology*
  • Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency / complications