Electrophysiologic testing in patients with unexplained syncope: clinical and noninvasive predictors of outcome

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1987 Aug;10(2):358-63. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(87)80019-0.


To assess whether the level of risk of having significant electrophysiologic abnormalities can be determined, 29 clinical variables were analyzed in 104 patients with unexplained syncope who underwent electrophysiologic testing. A positive electrophysiologic study was defined as: a sinus node recovery time greater than or equal to 3 seconds; HV interval greater than or equal to 100 ms; infranodal block during atrial pacing; unimorphic ventricular tachycardia; and supraventricular tachycardia associated with hypotension. Thirty-one patients had a positive study, with inducible ventricular tachycardia being the most common finding (71% of positive studies). A left ventricular ejection fraction less than or equal to 0.40 was the most powerful predictor of a positive electrophysiologic study (p less than 0.00001), followed by the presence of bundle branch block (p less than 0.00003), coronary artery disease (p less than 0.0003), remote myocardial infarction (p less than 0.00006), use of type 1 antiarrhythmic drugs (p less than 0.00003), injury related to loss of consciousness (p less than 0.01) and male sex (p less than 0.01). A negative electrophysiologic study was associated with an ejection fraction greater than 0.40 (p less than 0.00001), the absence of structural heart disease (p less than 0.00001), a normal electrocardiogram (ECG) (p less than 0.0001) and normal ambulatory ECG monitoring (p less than 0.0001). The probability of a negative study increased as the number and duration of syncopal episodes increased.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Atrioventricular Node / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Heart Function Tests / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke Volume
  • Syncope / physiopathology*
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology