• How well are European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines adhered to in patients with syncope?

      O'Dwyer, C; Hade, D; Fan, C W; Cunningham, C; Kenny, R A; Falls & Blackout Unit, St James's Hospital, James's St, Dublin 8. odwyercl@tcd.ie (2010-01)
      The ESC guidelines on syncope were published in 2001 and updated in 2004. Adherence to the recommendations enables early stratification of low and high risk patients and prevents unnecessary investigations and admissions. Vasovagal syncope (VVS) is the commonest cause of syncope in all age groups and a low risk condition. The study objective was to determine whether the ESC guidelines were adhered to prior to referral to a syncope unit; 100 consecutive patients with unexplained syncope (52 +/- 23 (15-91) years); 53 female. Sixty-six patients had VVS. Forty nine (75%) of patients with VVS had undergone unnecessary investigations prior to diagnosis and 31 (47%) were admitted to hospital for investigation. Research from other countries confirms that adherence to the ESC guidelines expediates accurate diagnosis, improves resource utilization and reduces health care cost. Greater awareness amongst Irish practitioners of guidelines may improve syncope management and reduce costs.