Cardiology in the Young

Original Article

The effect of paediatric syncope on health-related quality of life

Jeffrey B. Andersona1 c1, Richard J. Czoseka1, Timothy K. Knilansa1 and Bradley S. Marinoa1

a1 Department of Pediatrics, The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America


Background Syncope is common in children and adolescents and most commonly represents neurocardiogenic syncope. No information has been reported regarding the effect of syncope on health-related quality of life in children.

Methods This was a retrospective cohort study of patients seen in the Heart Institute Syncope Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center between July, 2009 and June, 2010. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the PedsQL™ tool. PedsQL™ scores were compared with both healthy historical controls and historical controls with chronic illnesses.

Results A total of 106 patients were included for analysis. In all, 90% were Caucasian and 63% were girls. The median age was 15.1 years (8.2–21.6). Compared with healthy controls, patients had lower PedsQL™ scores: Total score (75.2 versus 83.8, p < 0.0001); Physical Health Summary (78.8 versus 87.5, p < 0.0001); Psychosocial Health Summary (73.9 versus 81.9, p < 0.001), Emotional Functioning (68.9 versus 79.3, p < 0.001); and School Functioning (66.4 versus 81.1, p < 0.001). No difference was seen in Social Functioning (86.2 versus 85.2, p = 0.81). Patients also had lower PedsQL™ Total scores than patients with diabetes mellitus (p < 0.0001) and similar scores to patients with asthma, end-stage renal disease, obesity, and structural heart disease.

Conclusion Children with syncope, although typically benign in aetiology, can have low health-related quality of life.

(Received August 25 2011)

(Accepted December 20 2011)

(Online publication February 21 2012)


c1 Correspondence to: Dr J. Anderson, MD, MPH, The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, ML 2003, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America. Tel: + 1 513 636 3865; Fax: + 1 513 636 3952; E-mail: