Emergency room physicians can accurately predict serious outcomes for syncope (fainting) patients with a validated risk score

Projected to save the Canadian healthcare system approximately $70M per year, the CANet-funded Canadian Syncope Risk Score (CSRS) is helping doctors improve syncope care in the emergency room (ER), reducing the burden on hospitals throughout Canada.

Syncope is the temporary loss of consciousness due to the incomplete delivery of oxygen to the brain. A complete recovery immediately follows it. In some high-risk cases, syncope eventually leads to potentially fatal conditions like arrhythmias.

Syncope accounts for one to three percent of all emergency department visits.

Before creating the CSRS tool, doctors did not have standardized guidelines on evaluating syncope patients, differentiating between low- and high-risk cases, which patients to send back home, and whom to assess further.

The CSRS tool will result in 71% of all syncope patients being discharged quickly from the ER (within 2 hours).

Developed by CANet Investigator, the University of Ottawa Epidemiology and Community Medicine professor, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute scientist, and Ottawa Hospital doctor Venkatesh Thiruganasambandamoorthy, the CSRS helps physicians better identify which ER syncope patients need to be admitted, and which ones can be safely followed up in an outpatient clinic.

CSRS was successfully validated in a recent trial held in nine emergency departments across Canada.

It found that the Score helped ER physicians accurately predict 30-day serious outcomes for syncope patients after being released from the ER. They could determine if a patient was at risk for ventricular arrhythmia and whether they should be admitted. Very-low-risk and low-risk patients could generally be discharged, while brief hospitalization could be considered for high-risk patients.

“We believe CSRS implementation has the potential to improve patient safety and health care efficiency,” Thiruganasambandamoorthy says. 

About CANet

Our Network brings together health care professionals, academia, government, industry, not-for-profit, and patients to support new ideas and ground-breaking cardiac research.

CANet is developing and promoting effective practical solutions for personal, healthcare, and business applications. Our approach is to put the right tools in the right hands at the right time. We want to empower:

  • Patients to manage their own health
  • Caregivers to improve patient care at the bedside and in the community
  • Health care providers to give timely, effective, and efficient services