Diagnosis and characteristics of syncope in older patients referred to geriatric departments

Andrea Ungar, Chiara Mussi, Attilio Del Rosso, Gabriele Noro, Pasquale Abete, Loredana Ghirelli, Tommaso Cellai, Annalisa Landi, Gianfranco Salvioli, Franco Rengo, Niccolò Marchionni, Giulio Masotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To test the applicability and safety of a standardized diagnostic algorithm in geriatric departments and to define the prevalence of different causes of syncope in older patients. DESIGN: Multicenter cross-sectional observational study. SETTING: In-hospital geriatric acute care departments and outpatient clinics. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred forty-two patients (aged ≥65, mean±standard deviation =79±7, range 65-98) consecutively referred for evaluation of transient loss of consciousness to any of six clinical centers participating in the study. Of these, 11 had a syncope-like condition (5 transient ischemic attack; 6 seizures), and 231 had syncope (aged 65-74, n=71; aged ≥75, n=160). MEASUREMENTS: Protocol designed to define etiology and clinical characteristics of syncope derived from European Society of Cardiology Guidelines on syncope. RESULTS: No major complication occurred with use of the protocol. Neurally mediated was the more prevalent form of syncope in this population (66.6%). Cardiac causes accounted for 14.7% of all cases. The neuroreflex form of syncope (vasovagal, situational, and carotid sinus syndrome) was more common in younger than in older patients (62.3% vs 36.2%; P=.001), whereas orthostatic syncope was more frequent in the older than in the younger group (30.5% vs 4.2%; P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1536
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diagnostic protocol
  • Elderly
  • Geriatric department
  • Syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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