Use of implantable loop recorders in the diagnosis and management of syncope☆

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Abstract

Background

Syncope is a common, disabling symptom. The most useful data for diagnosing and managing syncope is the recording of physical parameters such as the ECG and blood pressure during a spontaneous event. Implantable loop recorders (ILR) provide an opportunity to record ECG data from a spontaneous event. The purpose of the Eastbourne Syncope Assessment Study (EaSyAS) was to investigate the impact of ILRs on an unselected population of syncopal patients presenting acutely to our institution.

Methods

All patients presenting acutely with recurrent, unexplained syncope over a 16-month period, were randomised after a basic clinical workup to receive the Reveal Plus ILR or conventional investigation. All patients were followed up for at least 6 months (mean 276±134 days) following randomisation. The primary outcome measure was time to ECG diagnosis.

Results

Four hundred twenty-one patients presented, 201 were eligible, median age 74 years (interquartile range 61–81 years), 54% female, with a median of three previous syncopes (IQ range 2–6). Thirty-three percent of ILR patients and 4% of conventional patients had an ECG diagnosis (hazard ratio 8.93, 95% CI 3.17–25.2 p≤0.0001). Introduction of ECG-directed therapy was quicker for ILR patients (hazard ratio 7.9, 95% CI 2.8–22.3, p<0.0001). ILR patients had fewer post-randomisation investigations and fewer hospital days, resulting in a saving of costs, £406 versus £1210 (mean difference £809, 95% CI £123–£2730). There was no difference in the number of subsequent syncopal episodes, mortality, or quality of life.

Conclusions

LR significantly increased the rate of diagnosis in an unselected Western population with recurrent syncope. There was a significant decrease in the rates of hospitalisation and investigation in patients receiving an ILR.

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