Syncope may be a manifestation of many diseases. The etiology is often difficult to determine. Much effort, time, and expense have been required to determine a diagnosis. A thorough history and physical examination are essential (Table 3). Several clinical pearls may be of help in the diagnosis of syncope: (a) the most important elements in the evaluation of syncope are a detailed history and physical examination; (b) syncope is a common problem in young healthy adults and the elderly; (c) a heavy meal is a specific cause of syncopy in the elderly (postprandial), however this etiology often goes unrecognized; (d) syncope is caused by 1 of 3 mechanisms: decreased cardiac output, systemic vascular resistance, or cerebrovascular disease; (e) reflex-mediated syndromes (vasovagal) are common causes of syncope in young adults, and orthostatic hypotension is an important cause of syncope in the elderly; and (f) the 1-year mortality of cardiac syncope (18%-33%) is significantly higher than that from non-cardiac syncope (0%-12%). A proven and useful tool has recently been advanced to aid in the evaluation of syncope. The Reveal Plus insertable loop recorder has auto activation that allows automatic capture and recording of arrhythmic events. Patient activation is an option. The recorder lasts 12 to 14 months and has proven to be a valuable and reliable cost-effective asset in our quest to evaluate syncope.

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