A standardized education protocol significantly reduces traumatic injuries and syncope recurrence: an observational study in 316 patients with vasovagal syncope

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Abstract

Aims

The aim of this study was to assess the role of a non-pharmacological approach on the frequency of traumatic injuries and syncope recurrence in patients with vasovagal syncope and normal hearts. We report the experience in our syncope centre with a standardized education and teaching protocol for patients with vasovagal syncope. The treatment of vasovagal syncope is often complex and discouraging. Besides medical options, behaviour modification is a main component of therapy but has no statistical evidence to support its use.

Methods and results

Between January 1999 and September 2006, we prospectively enrolled all patients with vasovagal syncope. The patients were counselled about the benign nature of their disease. Specific recommendations were made according to a standardized education protocol established at our syncope centre. A pre-/post-study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of our approach on syncope recurrence and frequency of injury as the study endpoints. Complete follow-up data were available from 85% of the study population (316 of 371) after a mean time of 710 ± 286 days (mean age 50 years; standard deviation ± 18 years, 160 female). Eighty-seven patients (27.5%) had a syncope recurrence with 22 suffering an injury during syncope. During the follow-up period, the syncope burden per month was significantly reduced from 0.35 ± 0.03 at initial presentation to 0.08 ± 0.02 (P< 0.001). The frequency of traumatic syncope was significantly lower at the time of recurrence compared with the initial presentation (25 vs. 42%; McNemar's test P= 0.02).

Conclusion

A standardized education protocol significantly reduces traumatic injuries and syncope recurrence in patients with vasovagal syncope.

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