Syncope Guidelines


Title: 2017 ACC/AHA/HRS guidelines for patients with syncope

Clinical Question: What are the key points from the 2017 ACC/AHA/HRS guidelines for the evaluation and management of adult patients with syncope?

Background: Syncope is a common condition for which patients present to a hospital setting. Updated guidance and recommendations on the evaluation and management of syncope are provided.

Study Design: Evidence-based guidelines.

Setting: Panel of experts.

Synopsis: A detailed history and physical should be performed. A 12-lead ECG should be obtained. Short- and long-term morbidity and mortality risk of syncope should be assessed. Inpatient evaluation and treatment is recommended for patients presenting with syncope and who have serious medical condition relevant to the cause of syncope. Lab tests are not useful. Routine cardiac imaging is not useful unless a cardiac etiology of syncope is suspected. Carotid artery imaging is not useful in the absence of focal neurologic findings. Continuous telemetry is indicated for inpatients suspected of syncope due to a cardiac etiology.

The most common cause of syncope is vasovagal. Medication therapy has modest effect, and patient education is recommended. Dual chamber pacing may be reasonable in select patients over the age of 40 with recurrent vasovagal syncope and prolonged spontaneous pauses. If orthostatic hypotension is suspected as the cause of syncope due to dehydration, then fluid resuscitation is recommended. Removing medications causing hypotension may be appropriate for select patients with syncope.

Cardiac syncope requires expert directed care and may include life-style changes, medication therapy and/or procedural intervention.

Bottom Line: The 2017 syncope guidelines provide updated and concise recommendations on the management of syncope.

Citation: Shen W-K, Sheldon RS, Benditt DG, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/HRS guideline for the evaluation and management of patients with syncope: executive summary. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2017; doi: 10.1016/ j.jacc.2017.03.002.

Dr. Sarah Burns, assistant professor in the division of hospital medicine at the University of New Mexico

Dr. Sarah Burns

Dr. Burns is assistant professor in the division of hospital medicine at the University of New Mexico.

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