The inpatient management of syncope

Emerg Med J. 2010 Nov;27(11):870-2. doi: 10.1136/emj.2010.092924. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


Introduction: The management and risk stratification of patients with syncope in the Emergency Department (ED) has been the emphasis of much recent research, however little is known about inpatient management especially in the UK. The aim of this study was to examine the inpatient management of patients with syncope admitted to hospital from a UK ED.

Methods: This was a single centre prospective observational cohort study, recruiting patients with syncope admitted to hospital from a UK ED. Inpatient management was examined focusing on length of stay and investigations undertaken.

Results: Between 3 March 2007 and 22 July 2008, 540 patients presenting with syncope to the ED of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, UK were admitted and enrolled. Median and mean length of stay was 1 day (IQR 1-4) and 6.3 days (SD 15.5). In all, 392 (73%) patients were admitted to General/Acute Medicine, 39 (7%) to Cardiology, 35 (7%) to Medicine of the Elderly, 33 (6%) to surgical specialities and the rest to other specialities. A diagnosis was finally made in 342 (63%) patients including 33 (85%) of the 39 admitted to Cardiology and 239 (61%) of the 392 patients admitted to General/Acute Medicine. The use of diagnostic tests varied between specialities with more intensive investigation undertaken in patients admitted to Cardiology.

Conclusions: The current approach to the inpatient management of syncope is speciality dependent. Standardised diagnostic pathways may improve diagnostic yield and cost effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Management
  • Syncope / diagnosis
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Syncope / therapy*
  • United Kingdom