[The syncope in Emergency Department: usual management vs guidelines].
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INTRODUCTION: The syncope is a common cause of admission to Emergency Departments, representing around 1-3% of all admissions to the service. However, elderly age and important comorbidities often hinder a definite etiologic diagnosis, with increasing requests for diagnostic tests and longer periods of hospitalization. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the management of 1,204 patients admitted to our Emergency Department for transient loss of consciousness in the period between 1 June 2009 and 1 June 2010, evaluating the following parameters: average age, gender, triage color code at admittance, performed diagnostic tests, diagnosis at discharge from ED and destination ward. We also studied a subgroup of 93 patients admitted to emergency medicine units evaluating their OESIL score at admittance, comorbidities, performed diagnostic tests and diagnosis at discharge from the ward. RESULTS: In the Emergency Department, 45% of patients were discharged with a diagnosis of syncope of unknown origin; in 21% of patients syncope was excluded; 19% of patients received a diagnosis of cardiogenic syncope; 11% were diagnosed with a presyncope; 3% with orthostatic hypotension and 1% with vasovagal syncope. In emergency medicine units, 51% of patients were discharged with a diagnosis of cardiogenic syncope, 11% were diagnosed with vasovagal syncope, 11% with presyncope, 11% with TIA, 8% with loss of consciousness non-syncope and 8% with syncope of unknown origin. CONCLUSIONS: Management of patients with syncope, elderly people with important comorbidities in particular, is still a serious problem for the emergency physician. The creation of specialized units for the management of syncope, the so-called syncope units, through the implementation of a shared diagnostic and therapeutic protocol, aims at reducing inappropriate hospitalization and average length of stay.
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