Syncope in Athletes

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Syncope is defined as the transient loss of consciousness with an inability to maintain postural tone followed by a spontaneous recovery. Syncope is a frequently encountered problem with etiologies ranging from benign to life threatening. It accounts for approximately 3% of emergency department visits and between 1 and 6% of acute hospital medical admissions. Syncope is an underlying symptom of a number of different medical conditions. The etiologies can be categorized as cardiac, metabolic, psychiatric, or neurological. The most frequent diagnosis category is cardiac. Cardiac causes of syncope can further be subdivided into the following categories: structural disease, cardiac arrhythmias, neurocardiogenic syncope, carotid sinus syncope, or orthostatic (postural) syncope. When a patient has experienced syncope, a thorough assessment explores associated symptoms, physical examination, environment, drugs, and family history The most commonly used tests for syncope include electrocardiogram (ECG), kidney function tests, table tilt test, carotid sinus massage, and exercise testing. . Immediate treatment includes evaluating the individual’s airway, breathing, and circulation (ABC) status and determining if emergency medical help is necessary. Secondary treatment of syncope includes education, maneuvers to avert episodes, drug therapy, and pacemakers. With regard to prognosis associated with syncope, two important elements should be considered: (1) risk of death and life-threatening events; and (2) risk of reoccurrence of syncope resulting in physical injury. The majority of patients who have sustained syncope can be comforted by the knowledge that the prognosis is excellent and the risk of death is minimal to non-existent.
2010 Winner, Literature Review National Athletic Trainers Association Deloss Brubaker Undergraduate Student Writing Contest Faculty: James M. Lynch, MD Athletic Training
Syncope, Neurocardiogenic syncope, Athletes