Syncope and Epilepsy coexist in 'possible' and 'drug-resistant' epilepsy (Overlap between Epilepsy and Syncope Study - OESYS)

Andrea Ungar, Alice Ceccofiglio, Francesca Pescini, Chiara Mussi, Gianni Tava, Martina Rafanelli, Assunta Langellotto, Niccolò Marchionni, J. Gert van Dijk, Gianlugi Galizia, Domenico Bonaduce, Pasquale Abete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Differential diagnosis between syncope and epilepsy in patients with transient loss of consciousness of uncertain etiology is still unclear. Thus, the aim of the present work is to evaluate the prevalence of syncope in patients with "possible" or "drug-resistant" epilepsy.

METHODS: The Overlap between Epilepsy and SYncope Study (OESYS) is a multicenter prospective observational study designed to estimate the prevalence of syncope in patients followed in Epilepsy Centers for "possible" or "drug-resistant" epilepsy and assessed according the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines of syncope diagnosis.

RESULTS: One hundred seven patients were evaluated; 63 (58.9%) had possible and 44 (41.1%) drug-resistant epilepsy. A final diagnosis of isolated syncope was in 45 patients (42.1%), all with possible epilepsy (45/63, 71.4%). Isolated epilepsy was found in 21 patients (19.6%) and it was more frequent in the drug-resistant than in the possible epilepsy group (34.1% vs. 9.5%, p = 0.002). More importantly, syncope and epilepsy coexisted in 37.4% of all patients but the coexistence was more frequent among patients with drug-resistant than possible epilepsy (65.9% vs. 17.5%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Isolated syncope was diagnosed in ≈ 70% of patients with possible epilepsy. Syncope and epilepsy coexisted in ≈ 20% of patients with possible and in ≈ 60% of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. These findings highlight the need of ESC guidelines of syncope approach in patients with possible and drug-resistant epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epilepsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syncope
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study


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