Syncope in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (part I): An updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Cardiol. 2022 Jun 15;357:88-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2022.03.028. Epub 2022 Mar 15.


Aims: To describe the proportion of patients with syncope among those affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and the relevance of syncope as risk factor for sudden cardiac death and life-threatening arrhythmic events.

Method and results: Systematic review of original articles that assessed syncope in HCM patients. Literature search of PubMed including all English publications from 1973 to 2021.We found 57 articles for a total of 21.791 patients; of these, 14 studies reported on arrhythmic events in the follow-up. Syncope was reported in 15.8% (3.452 of 21.791) patients. It was considered unexplained in 91% of cases. Life-threatening arrhythmic events occurred in 3.6% of non-syncopal patients and in 7.7% of syncopal patients during a mean follow-up of 5.6 years. A relative risk of 1.99 (95%CI 1.39 to 2.86) was estimated for syncope patients by the random effect model using Haldane continuity correction for 0 events.

Conclusions: In the current practice, the cause of syncope remained unexplained in most patients affected by HCM. The management of patients seems mainly driven by risk stratification rather than identification of the aetiology of syncope. There is a need of precise instructions how to apply the recommendations of current guidelines to this disease, which tests are indicated and how to interpret their findings. The protocol was registered in Prospero (ID: 275963).

Keywords: Diagnostic tests; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Lifethreatening arrhythmias; Sudden death; Syncope.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / complications
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Syncope / complications
  • Syncope / diagnosis
  • Syncope / epidemiology