Screening Tool Could Potentially Identify Underlying Causes of Fainting

The Canadian Syncope Risk Score could prevent adverse events related to underlying medical conditions.

Researchers recently created a screening tool that could potentially predict the risk of adverse effects from an underlying medical condition in patients who fainted.

The Canadian Syncope Risk Score assists emergency physicians in treating patients who have fainted, and predicts potential adverse events they may face, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Approximately 10% of patients who visit the emergency room for fainting have a serious adverse event within a week to 1 month after discharge.

"The way fainting patients are examined in emergency rooms varies greatly between physicians and hospitals,” said researcher Venkatesh Thiruganasambandamoorthy, MBBS, CCFP-EM, MSc. “We hope that this screening tool will make the process more consistent and improve the detection of serious conditions related to fainting."

Included in the study were 4030 patients who fainted, including 147 who experienced a serious adverse event within 1 month of discharge.

Factors that affect patient risk of an adverse event include: presumed cause of fainting after examination; the reason fainting was triggered (intense emotions, warm or crowded areas, standing for a long time); a history of heart disease; abnormal electrocardiogram measurements; increased levels of troponin; and abnormal blood pressure, the study noted.

"If our tool can discharge low-risk patients quickly and safely, then I think we can reduce emergency room wait times and open up those resources to other patients," Dr Thiruganasambandamoorthy concluded.