JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Risk factors for syncope in a community-based sample (the Framingham Heart Study).

The epidemiology of syncope has not been well described. Prior studies have examined risk factors for syncope in hospital-based or other acute or long-term care settings. To determine risk factors for syncope in a community-based sample, we performed a nested case-control study. We examined reports of syncope in Framingham Heart Study participants who underwent routine clinic visits from 1971 to 1990. For each syncope case (n = 543) 2 controls were matched for age, sex, and examination period. Mean age of subjects was 67 years (range 25 to 95); 59% were women. History of stroke or transient ischemic attack, history of myocardial infarction, high blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, use of other cardiac medication, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, atrial fibrillation, PR interval prolongation, interventricular block, and diabetes or elevated glucose level were examined as potential predictors. Using conditional logistic regression analysis, the predictors of syncope included a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (odds ratio [OR] 2.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.62 to 4.04), use of cardiac medication (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.21 to 2. 30), and high blood pressure (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.88). Lower body mass index was marginally associated with syncope (OR per 4 kg/m(2) decrement 1.10, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.22), as were increased alcohol intake (OR per 5 oz/week 1.11, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.26), and diabetes or an elevated glucose level (OR 1.29, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.75). To our knowledge, this study represents the first community-based study of risk factors for syncope.

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