Prospective validation of prognostic and diagnostic syncope scores in the emergency department

Int J Cardiol. 2018 Oct 15;269:114-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.06.088. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


Background: Various scores have been derived for the assessment of syncope patients in the emergency department (ED) but stay inconsistently validated. We aim to compare their performance to the one of a common, easy-to-use CHADS2 score.

Methods: We prospectively enrolled patients ≥ 40 years old presenting with syncope to the ED in a multicenter study. Early clinical judgment (ECJ) of the treating ED-physician regarding the probability of cardiac syncope was quantified. Two independent physicians adjudicated the final diagnosis after 1-year follow-up. Major cardiovascular events (MACE) and death were recorded during 2 years of follow-up. Nine scores were compared by their area under the receiver-operator characteristics curve (AUC) for death, MACE or the diagnosis of cardiac syncope.

Results: 1490 patients were available for score validation. The CHADS2-score presented a higher or equally high accuracy for death in the long- and short-term follow-up than other syncope-specific risk scores. This score also performed well for the prediction of MACE in the long- and short-term evaluation and stratified patients with accuracy comparative to OESIL, one of the best performing syncope-specific risk score. All scores performed poorly for diagnosing cardiac syncope when compared to the ECJ.

Conclusions: The CHADS2-score performed comparably to more complicated syncope-specific risk scores in the prediction of death and MACE in ED syncope patients. While better tools incorporating biochemical and electrocardiographic markers are needed, this study suggests that the CHADS2-score is currently a good option to stratify risk in syncope patients in the ED.

Trial registration: NCT01548352.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Emergency department; Scores; Syncope.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Electrocardiography / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syncope / diagnosis*
  • Syncope / physiopathology*

Associated data