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Friday, 29 November 2013

Fainting (Syncope) - Diagnosis

Fainting also known as Syncope of "black out" is defined as a condition of sudden loss of consciousness followed by the return to full wakefulness in a short duration as a result of  abnormally low blood pressure. In most cases, it is caused by hypotension, with blood pressure that's lower than 90/60 mmHg.(1). Even though Low blood pressure has mainly been regarded as good health for people who exercise, but recent studies have indicated an association with depression in elderly people. there are epidemiological evidence for an association of low blood pressure with anxiety and depression, which is not caused by cardiovascular disease.(2). In some case, severely low blood pressure can seriously impair adequate blood flow to vital organs and a life-threatening condition called shock.
Diagnosis
1. According to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine suggestion in Diagnosing syncope. Part 1, Dr. Linzer M,  and the team indicated that Despite the absence of a diagnostic gold standard and the paucity of data from randomized trials, several points emerge. First, history, physical examination, and electrocardiography are the core of the syncope workup (combined diagnostic yield, 50%). Second, neurologic testing is rarely helpful unless additional neurologic signs or symptoms are present (diagnostic yield of electroencephalography, computed tomography, and Doppler ultrasonography, 2% to 6%). Third, patients in whom heart disease is known or suspected or those with exertional syncope are at higher risk for adverse outcomes and should have cardiac testing, including echocardiography, stress testing. Holter monitoring, or intracardiac electrophysiologic studies, alone or in combination (diagnostic yields, 5% to 35%). Fourth, syncope in the elderly often results from polypharmacy and abnormal physiologic responses to daily events. Fifth, long-term loop electrocardiography (diagnostic yield, 25% to 35%) and tilt testing (diagnostic yield < or = 60%) are most useful in patients with recurrent syncope in whom heart disease is not suspected. Sixth, psychiatric evaluation can detect mental disorders associated with syncope in up to 25% of cases. Seventh, hospitalization may be indicated for patients at high risk for cardiac syncope (those with an abnormal electrocardiogram, organic heart disease, chest pain, history of arrhythmia, age > 70 years) or with acute neurologic signs and suggested that Many tests for syncope have a low diagnostic yield. A careful history, physical examination, and electrocardiography will provide a diagnosis or determine whether diagnostic testing is necessary in most patients.(27)

2. According to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine suggestion in Diagnosing syncope. Part 2. Dr. Linzer M,  and the team indicated that after a thorough history, physical examination, and electrocardiography, the cause of syncope remains undiagnosed in 50% of patients. In such patients, information may be derived from the results of carefully selected diagnostic tests, especially 1) electrophysiologic studies in patients with organic heart disease, 2) Holter monitoring or telemetry in patients known to have or suspected of having heart disease, 3) loop monitoring in patients with frequent events and normal hearts, 4) psychiatric evaluation in patients with frequent events and no injury, and 5) tilt-table testing in patients who have infrequent events or in whom vasovagal syncope is suspected. Hospitalization is indicated for high-risk patients, especially those with known heart disease and elderly patients.(28)
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Sources
(1) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hyp/hyp_whatis.html  
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17183016
(27)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9182479
(28) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9214258