Key Points

Syncope is one of the most common causes of emergency visits by an older adult.  Thirty-five percent of older adults 65 years or older experiences syncope every year and the number increases to 45% for those 85 years or older.  Syncope can be defined as an abrupt and transient loss of consciousness associated with absence of postural tone, followed by complete and usually rapid spontaneous recovery.  It is often benign and self-limited; however, it may also indicate multiple underlying disease process. 

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Syncope in Older Adults Handout

References

Kenny, RA, O’Shea, D, Walker, HF. (2002).  Impact of a dedicated syncope and falls facility for older adults on emergency beds. Age and Ageing, 31: 272-275.

Olshansky, B, Ganze, LE, Yeon, SB, Hockberger, RS.  (2014).  Evaluation of syncope in adults.  UpToDate. http://www.uptodate.com

Cheitlin, MD. (2003).  Cardiovascular physiology-changes with aging.  American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 12(1): 9-13.