Diagnostic Yield of head Computed Tomography in Patients with Syncope: Sex Differences

Raymond Farah, Dvir Novak, Rola Khamisy-Farah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Syncope is responsible for approximately 1-3% of all emergency department (ED) visits and up to 6% of all hospital admissions in the United States. Although often of no long-term consequence, syncope can be the first presentation of a range of serious conditions such as strokes, tumors, or subarachnoid hemorrhages. Head computed tomography (CT) scanning is therefore commonly ordered in the ED for patients presenting with syncope to rule out any of these conditions, which may present without other associated physical or neurological findings on initial examination. However, the diagnostic yield of head CTs in patients presenting with syncope is unclear. Objectives: To determine the diagnostic yield of head CT in the ED in patients with syncope. Methods: We conducted an observational analytical retrospective cross-sectional study on 360 patients diagnosed with syncope who underwent a head CT to determine the diagnostic yield of syncope to determine whether head CT is necessary for every patient presenting with syncope to the ED. Results: The total of new CT findings was 11.4%. Percentages varied between men (12.8%) and women (9.7%), P = 0.353. There were no significant differences between sexes regarding the findings in head CT, yet the incidence increased, especially among elderly males. Conclusions: Age had a more significant impact on diagnostic yield of syncope than head CT. The use of a head CT scan as a routine diagnosis tool in patients with syncope is unjustifiable unless there is an indication based on medical history or physical examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-244
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Israel Medical Association. All rights reserved.


  • faint
  • head computed tomography
  • syncope
  • transient loss of consciousness (TLOC)


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