October 1990

Electroencephalography Should Not Be Routine in the Evaluation of Syncope in Adults

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Dr Davis), and the Neurology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Freemon), Nashville, Tenn. Dr Davis is now with the Experimental Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(10):2027-2029. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390210029008

• We reviewed the reports of all electroencephalograms obtained at the Nashville (Tenn) Veterans Administration Hospital from September 1987 to August 1989. Seventy-three patients were referred for evaluation of syncope or near syncope. Of these 73 patients, 10 (13.7%) had abnormal findings. Twenty-six patients were referred for other complaints similar to syncope (ie, blackouts, loss of consciousness, falling out, passing out, and fainting). Of these 26 patients, five (19.2%) had abnormal findings. We reviewed the medical records of the patients with abnormal findings and found that the final diagnosis or treatment of the syncope was affected by electroencephalogram in only one patient. These findings suggest that routine electroencephalography is not of significant value in the evaluation of syncope in adults.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:2027-2029)