ABSTRACT: The finding of bundle branch block in patients with syncope suggests that paroxysmal AV block may be the cause of syncope, even though its prevalence is unknown.
We evaluated 55 consecutive patients with syncope and bundle branch block (mean age 75 +/- 8 years; median of two syncopal episodes per patient) referred to three Syncope Units. The hierarchy and appropriateness of diagnostic tests and the definitions of the final diagnoses followed standardized predefined criteria.
Cardiac syncope was diagnosed in 25 patients (45%): AV block in 20, sick sinus syndrome in 2, sustained ventricular tachycardia in 1, aortic stenosis in 2. Neurally mediated syncope was diagnosed in 22 (40%): carotid sinus syndrome in 5, tilt-induced syncope in 15, adenosine-sensitive syncope in 2. Syncope remained unexplained in 8 (15%).
Less than half of the patients with bundle branch block have a final diagnosis of cardiac syncope; in these patients, paroxysmal AV block is the most frequent but not the only mechanism supposed.
Europace 11/2002; 4(4):357-60. · 1.98 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The appropriate diagnostic work-up of patients with syncope is not well defined. We applied the guidelines of Italian 'Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri' to a group of consecutive patients with syncope referred to three Syncope Units. The aim of the study was to evaluate the applicability of those guidelines in the 'real world' and their impact on the use of the tests.
We evaluated 308 consecutive patients with syncope (mean age 61 +/- 20 years; median of three syncopal episodes per patient). The hierarchy and appropriateness of diagnostic tests and the definitions of the final diagnosis followed standardized predefined criteria. In brief, all patients underwent initial evaluation consisting of history, physical examination, supine and upright blood pressure measurement and standard electrocardiogram (ECG) (only in patients > 45 years or with history of heart disease). Any subsequent investigations were based on the findings of the initial evaluation. Priority was given to cardiological tests (prolonged ECG monitoring, exercise test, electrophysiological study), or to neurally mediated tests (carotid sinus massage, tilt test, ATP test), or to neuro-psychiatric tests, as appropriate.
The initial evaluation alone was diagnostic in 72 patients (23%). One further test was necessary for diagnosis in 65 patients (21%), > or = 2 tests in 64 (21%) and > or = 3 tests in 50 (16%). The diagnostic yield was 10% for ECG, 3% for echocardiogram, 16% for Holter, 5% for exercise test, 27% for electrophysiological study, 57% for carotid sinus massage, 52% for tilt testing and 15% for ATP test. At the end of the work-up the mechanism of syncope remained unexplained in 57 patients (18%).
When standardized criteria based on the appropriateness of indications are used, few simple tests are usually needed for diagnosis of syncope.
Europace 10/2002; 4(4):351-5. · 1.98 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Patients suffering from heart failure are at high risk of arrhythmic death. Conventional pacemakers have not shown to affect mortality in patients with chronic heart failure and sick sinus syndrome, while this issue is established in patients with III degree or advanced atrioventricular block. Biventricular pacing has recently been introduced in clinical practice and the experience is limited; to date, only an improvement in symptoms and quality of life has been shown. Biventricular pacing with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator back-up is promising. The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is able to reduce total and sudden mortality in high risk patients, as clearly demonstrated by several randomized clinical trials.
Italian heart journal. Supplement: official journal of the Italian Federation of Cardiology 01/2002; 2(12):1303-7.
ABSTRACT: We sought to establish what historical findings are predictive of the cause of syncope.
The clinical features of the various types of syncope have not been systematically investigated.
Three hundred forty-one patients with syncope were prospectively evaluated. Each patient was interviewed using a standard questionnaire. A cause of syncope was assigned using standardized diagnostic criteria.
A cardiac cause of syncope was established in 23% of the patients, a neurally mediated cause in 58% and a neurologic or psychiatric cause in 1%, and in the remaining 18%, the cause of syncope remained unexplained. In a preliminary analysis including age, gender and the presence of suspected or certain heart disease after the initial evaluation, only heart disease was an independent predictor of a cardiac cause of syncope (odds ratio 16, p = 0.00001), with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 45%. In contrast, the absence of heart disease allowed us to exclude a cardiac cause of syncope in 97% of the patients. In patients with certain or suspected heart disease, the most specific predictors of a cardiac cause were syncope in the supine position or during effort, blurred vision and convulsive syncope. Significant and specific predictors of a neurally mediated cause were time between the first and last syncopal episode >4 years, abdominal discomfort before the loss of consciousness and nausea and diaphoresis during the recovery phase. In the patients without heart disease, palpitation was the only significant predictor of a cardiac cause.
The presence of suspected or certain heart disease after the initial evaluation is a strong predictor of a cardiac cause of syncope. A few historical findings are useful to predict cardiac and neurally mediated syncope in patients with and without heart disease.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 06/2001; 37(7):1921-8. · 14.16 Impact Factor