Unexplained Syncope and Diagnostic Yield of Tests in Syncope According to the ICD-10 Discharge Diagnosis

Martin Huth Ruwald, Morten Lock Hansen, Morten Lamberts, Michael Vinther, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Jim Hansen, Gunnar Hilmar Gislason

Abstract


Background: The etiology of syncope according to the discharge diagnosis from hospital admissions has not been examined before. Therefore the aims of this study were to examine the diagnostic yield of tests and frequency of unexplained cases during admission and after workup after an ICD-10 diagnosis of syncope.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of 600 patients discharged with the primary ICD-10 discharge diagnosis of syncope R55.9 was performed. Causes and clinical characteristics of syncope according to the physician were noted both after initial discharge and after workup.

Results: During a mean follow-up period of 2.5 years (SD: ± 1.30) several diagnostic tests were used (mean number of tests per patient was 4.7 (SD: ± -2.0)) and the mean length of admission was 2.1 days (± 1.5). The final diagnosis after workup was reflex syncope in 21%, cardiac 18%, orthostatic hypotension 10%, other causes 4% and unknown/unexplained syncope in 48% with wide age differences. The diagnostic yield of tests was generally low and differed widely depending on usage during admission or usage during subsequent workup.

Conclusions: The underlying etiology of syncope remains difficult to establish despite the high use of diagnostic tests and the diagnostic yield of many tests implemented in the care path is generally low.




doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4021/jocmr1569w


Keywords


Syncope; Diagnostic techniques; Cardiovascular; Etiology

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