Prognosis after syncope: impact of left ventricular function

Am Heart J. 1993 Jan;125(1):121-7. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(93)90064-g.


A cardiac cause of syncope has been associated with increased sudden death risk, whereas unexplained syncope has a benign prognosis. However, in patients who have depressed left ventricular function, the accuracy of diagnostic tests and the efficacy of therapy, such as antiarrhythmic drugs, are reduced. Previous studies of patients with syncope have not evaluated the contribution of left ventricular performance in risk stratification for sudden death. The purpose of our study of a large population of patients with syncope was to determine the impact of left ventricular dysfunction on sudden death risk if syncope is caused by a cardiac cause or remains unexplained after electrophysiologic testing. We retrospectively evaluated the relationship of left ventricular ejection fraction to sudden death prognosis in 88 consecutive patients referred for electrophysiologic testing to determine a cause of syncope. The mean age was 57 +/- 18 years, left ventricular ejection fraction was 0.41 +/- 0.20, and 66 patients (75%) had structural heart disease. In 49 patients (56%) a cardiac cause of syncope was diagnosed, and in 39 patients (44%) the cause of syncope remained unexplained after evaluation. Cardiac syncope was attributed to ventricular tachycardia in 27 patients, bradyarrhythmia in 11 patients, and supraventricular tachyarrhythmia in 11 patients. By logistic regression only structural heart disease was independently associated with cardiac cause of syncope (p = 0.003). After a mean follow-up of 790 +/- 688 days, nine patients had died suddenly, eight (89%) of whom had left ventricular ejection fraction less than 0.30.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Syncope / epidemiology
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Syncope / mortality*
  • Syncope / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function, Left*