Age of First Faint in Patients with Vasovagal Syncope
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INTRODUCTION: Understanding whether vasovagal syncope is a lifelong disorder might shed insight into its physiology and affect management strategies. Accordingly, we determined the age of the first syncopal spell in adult patients who sought care for syncope. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients were 42 +/- 18 years old with 64% women. They had had a median 8 syncope spells (interquartile range [IQR]: 4, 20) with a median frequency of 1.0 syncopal spells per year. The range of syncopal spells was 1-3,375, and the range of duration of history of syncope was 0.003-70 years. The first syncopal spell occurred at ages 0-81 in a skewed distribution, with a marked mode age of 13 years, a median age of 18 years (IQR 12, 37), and a mean age of 26 +/- 20 years. The distributions were statistically indistinguishable across countries (P = 0.50), among Canadian regions (P = 0.69), and between the studies (P = 0.49). The same modal values were seen in males and females, and in patients <40 and > or =40 years old. However, patients > or =40 years had median ages of onset older than patients <40 years (36 +/- 23 vs 17 +/- 8 years). Patients had a recalled history of syncopal spells of median duration of 10 years (IQR: 2, 23), with a range of 0.003-70 years. An age of onset <44 years was 86% accurate for vasovagal syncope. CONCLUSION: The most common age at which vasovagal syncope first presents is 13 years, and patients remain at risk of syncope for many years. Lifelong coping strategies may be desirable.
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