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Minerva Medica 2004 October;95(5):451-60


language: Italian

After the 2001 European Society of Cardiology guidelines: is it possible to reduce the number of patients with syncope to be hospitalized?

Bartoletti A., Fabiani P., Gianni R., Cappelletti C., Santoro G. M., Fortini A., Adriani P., Baccetti F., Buffini G., Lavacchi A., Ticali P. F., Viganò S.


Aim. The aim of this paper was to evaluate how many patients with syncope should be hospitalized according to the 2001 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guide-lines on the management of syncope.
Methods. Starting from August 2002 we prompted a Syncope Unit (SU), as a multi-disciplinary functional structure including the Emergency Department. One of the main objectives of the SU was the implementation of the 2001 ESC Guidelines on Syncope and of the relevant criteria for hospitalization. All the clinical data concerning the patients presenting with syncope were prospectively collected and stored in a dedicated database.
Results. Between September 1, 2002 and April 30, 2003, 402 patients were observed for a syncope. Out of these, 19 had a cardiogenic syncope, 3 focal neurologic disorders, 25 a severe trauma, 4 severe orthostatic hypotension and 5 carotid syncope. Therefore, 56 patients out of 402 were found to have indication to therapeutical hospitalization. Among the remaining 346 patients, 83 patients were found to have a structural heart disease and/or an abnormal ECG, 1 had syncope during exercise, 3 presented a familial history of sudden death. Thirty-three were found to have severe comorbidities and further 14 had occasional indication to hospitalization. Thus, 190 out of the 402 patients with syncope (47.3%) presented at least 1 criterion for hospitalization according to the ESC Guidelines.
Conclusion. The implementation of the ESC Guidelines on Syncope is technically feasible. Nevertheless, even when the Guidelines are strictly observed, a high percentage of patients with syncope has still to be hospitalized. Our data suggest that new criteria should be established for a safe Emergency Department discharge of the patients with syncope, particularly of those with structural heart disease or abnormal ECG.

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