Emergency Department Approach to the Patient with Syncope

  • Dursun Aygün
  • Levent Altıntop
  • Hakan Güven
  • Zahide Doğanay
  • Ayşe Baydar

Eurasian J Emerg Med 2003;2(1):6-10

Syncope is a condition characterized by transient loss of consciousness and postural tone which has a sudden onset. Syncope is occurs in 3-37% of the general population and accounts for 3% of emergency department (ED) visits. In this article we review the current literature relevant to syncope, helping the emergency physician to distinguish syncope from other disorders of altered consciousness, such as sleep disorders, coma, shock, delirium, drop attacks, vertigo, presyncope, and, seizures. The one-year mortality in patients with syncope is as high as 33%. A rapid and correct diagnosis is essential before beginning emergency treatment. A detailed focused history, and relevant physical examination are important in determining the cause of the syncope. Occasionally, laboratory tests may help discover the cause of the syncope. In this paper, we review the diagnostic methods used when evaluating a patient with syncope in the ED, and important points of initial treatment for a variety of emergency disorders.

Keywords: syncope, emergency department, evaluation, treatment