Syncope evaluation in the emergency department

Peter A. Smars, Wyatt W. Decker, Win Kuang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In the absence of an established critical pathway to evaluate patients with syncope presenting to the emergency department, this review is timely because of new clinical evidences supporting a specialized syncope management unit in the emergency department, and it is relevant because of the potential impact on a very large and heterogeneous population. RECENT FINDINGS: Three observational syncope studies from Italy showed a high degree of variability in practice patterns, diagnostic yields, and lengths of hospital stay. An appropriate and efficacious syncope management pathway in the emergency department remains far from established. In a randomized trial from a tertiary care hospital in the US, the SEEDS study demonstrated that a designated 'syncope unit' in the emergency department, with a multidisciplinary effort and appropriate resources, significantly improved diagnostic yield, reduced hospital admission and total length of hospital stay in intermediate-risk patients. Long-term follow-up showed that reduced hospital stay did not negatively affect survival and recurrent syncope. SUMMARY: Limited randomized trial data suggest a designated syncope unit in the emergency department holds promise to provide specialized and efficient care for patients with syncope. Additional data are needed to assess the general applicability of this critical pathway in community-based hospitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Clinical outcome
  • Clinical trials
  • Emergency department
  • Syncope
  • Syncope unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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