Evaluation of syncope: focus on diagnosis and treatment of neurally mediated syncope

Andrea K Y Lee, Andrew D Krahn
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 2016, 14 (6): 725-36
Syncope, defined as a transient loss of consciousness secondary to global cerebral hypoperfusion, is common in the general population. The single most helpful "test" in the evaluation of patients with syncope is a thoughtful history, with recent evidence that structured histories are remarkably effective in arriving at a diagnosis. In addition to the history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram, arriving at a diagnosis of syncope can involve monitoring and provocative strategies. The majority of patients with syncope have neurally mediated syncope and a favourable prognosis. The management of neurally mediated syncope continues to largely revolve around education, avoidance of triggers, reassurance, and counter-pressure maneuvers. The evidence surrounding medical therapy in vasovagal syncope is not strong to date. Pacemaker therapy is reasonable in older patients with recurrent, unpredictable syncope with pauses, but should be considered as a last resort in younger patients.

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