Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of the American Heart Association - Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease


Geisel School of Medicine



Pediatric syncope is common. Cardiac causes are rarely found. We describe and assess a pragmatic approach to these patients first seen by a pediatric cardiologist in the New England region, using Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plans (SCAMPs).

Methods and Results:

Ambulatory patients aged 7 to 21 years initially seen for syncope at participating New England Congenital Cardiology Association practices over a 2.5‐year period were evaluated using a SCAMP. Findings were iteratively analyzed and the care pathway was revised. The vast majority (85%) of the 1254 patients had typical syncope. A minority had exercise‐related or more problematic symptoms. Guideline‐defined testing identified one patient with cardiac syncope. Syncope Severity Scores correlated well between physician and patient perceived symptoms. Orthostatic vital signs were of limited use. Largely incidental findings were seen in 10% of ECGs and 11% of echocardiograms. The 10% returning for follow‐up, by design, reported more significant symptoms, but did not have newly recognized cardiac disease. Iterative analysis helped refine the approach.


SCAMP methodology confirmed that the vast majority of children referred to the outpatient pediatric cardiology setting had typical low‐severity neurally mediated syncope that could be effectively evaluated in a single visit using minimal resources. A simple scoring system can help triage patients into treatment categories. Prespecified criteria permitted the effective diagnosis of the single patient with a clear cardiac etiology. Patients with higher syncope scores still have a very low risk of cardiac disease, but may warrant attention.