Background: The goal of our study was to determine the accuracy of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) clinical policy in identifying patients with a cardiac cause for their syncope and its potential effect on syncope management. Methods: Adult patients with syncope presenting to the emergency department (ED) from January 1996 to December 1998 were identified. Diagnosis was established retrospectively by reviewing medical records. The ACEP guidelines were applied to this population. Results: Of the 200 patients identified, 115 (57.5%, 95% CI 60-64) were admitted from the ED and 24 (12%) were found to have cardiogenic syncope. Of the 24 patients with cardiac syncope, 23 were admitted. By applying ACEP level B recommendations to our population, all patients who on further workup were found to have cardiac syncope would have been admitted from the ED (100% sensitivity, 95% CI 86-100) and 81% of patients with no cardiac syncope would have been discharged from the ED (81% specificity, 95% CI 75-87). The admission rate would have been 28.5% (95% CI 22-35). By extending admission to patients satisfying level C in addition to level B recommendations, the sensitivity, specificity, and admission rate would have been 100% (95% CI 86-100), 33% (95% CI 26-40), and 71.0% (95% CI 64-77), respectively. Conclusion: High sensitivity and specificity in identifying patients with cardiogenic syncope and significant reduction in the hospital admission rate were observed by applying ACEP level B recommendations to patients presenting to our ED. Application of level C recommendations did not offer any advantage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine