Characteristics and admission patterns of patients presenting with syncope to U.S. emergency departments, 1992-2000

Benjamin C. Sun, Jennifer A. Emond, Carlos A. Camargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


To describe the characteristics and admission patterns of patients with syncope presenting to U.S. emergency departments (EDs).The ED portion of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 1992-2000, was analyzed. Nationally representative weighted estimates for incidence and admission rates were estimated and stratified by demographic variables. Presence of cardiovascular diagnoses on ED discharge was noted.Of the 865 million ED visits during the nine-year study period, an estimated 6.7 million (0.77%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.69% to 0.85%) were related to syncope. Higher incidences of ED visits for syncope were found in elder, female, and non-Hispanic patients compared with their reference groups. The overall admission rate was 32% (95% CI = 28% to 36%). Older, male, and white patients were admitted more frequently than their counterparts. Of patients older than 80 years of age, 58% (95% CI = 49% to 67%) were admitted. Associated cardiovascular International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), codes for ischemic, structural, and arrhythmic heart disease were noted in 10% (95% CI = 8% to 13%) of patients, and 66% (95% CI = 56% to 76%) of these patients were admitted.Syncope is a frequent reason for ED visits and admissions. Elders and patients with associated cardiovascular diagnoses are frequently discharged, and admission practices appear to deviate from consensus panel guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1034
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
  • fainting
  • practice variation
  • syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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