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August 1991

Clinical Significance of a Dizziness History in Medical Patients With Syncope

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine; and the Division of Biometry, the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Dr Linzer is now with the New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(8):1625-1628. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400080109021

To determine the implications of dizziness as a symptom in patients with syncope, we analyzed responses to a standardized battery of questions about dizziness in 121 consecutive patients referred for evaluation of syncope. Associations were sought between final diagnosis (dependent variable) and clinical predictor variables. Dizziness was found in 70% of the patients with syncope. Dizzy patients were younger (mean ages, 47 vs 56 years, respectively), more often female (75% vs 42%), and more likely to be assigned a psychiatric diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified young age and rotatory dizziness (vertigo) to be associated with a psychiatric diagnosis. Dizziness and syncope frequently coexist and in many cases may represent the same pathophysiologic process. A careful dizziness history may guide the initial evaluation of syncope patients in clinical practice.

(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:1625-1628)