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Short- and long-term prognosis of syncope, risk factors, and role of hospital admission: results from the STePS (Short-Term Prognosis of Syncope) study.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess short- and long-term prognosis of syncope and associated risk factors.

BACKGROUND: Syncope is a common clinical event, but our knowledge of its short-term outcome is largely incomplete. Further, it is unknown whether hospital admission might positively affect a patient's syncope prognosis.

METHODS: We screened 2,775 consecutive subjects who presented for syncope at 4 emergency departments between January and July 2004. Short- and long-term severe outcomes (i.e., death and major therapeutic procedures) and related risk factors were compared in all enrolled patients arrayed according to hospital admission or discharge.

RESULTS: A total of 676 subjects were included in the study. Forty-one subjects (6.1%) experienced severe outcomes (5 deaths, 0.7%; 36 major therapeutic procedures, 5.4%) in the 10 days after presentation. An abnormal electrocardiogram, concomitant trauma, absence of symptoms of impending syncope, and male gender were associated with short-term unfavorable outcomes. Long-term severe outcomes were 9.3% (40 deaths, 6.0%; 22 major therapeutic procedures, 3.3%), and their occurrence was correlated with an age >65 years, history of neoplasms, cerebrovascular diseases, structural heart diseases, and ventricular arrhythmias. Short-term major therapeutic procedures were more common (p < 0.05) in subjects who had been admitted to hospital (13.3%) than in discharged (1.6%), whereas mortality was similar. One-year mortality was greater (p < 0.05) in admitted (14.7%) than in discharged (1.8%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors for short- and long-term adverse outcomes after syncope differed. Hospital admission favorably influenced syncope short term prognosis. Instead, 1-year mortality was unaffected by hospital admission and related to comorbidity.

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