Transient loss of consciousness ('blackouts') in over 16s

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence


It is estimated that half of the population in the UK will experience a blackout (transient loss of consciousness [TLoC]). The diagnosis of the underlying cause of TLoC is often inaccurate, inefficient and delayed. There is huge variation in the management of TLoC. A substantial proportion of people initially diagnosed with, and treated for, epilepsy have a cardiovascular cause for their TLoC. Some people have expensive and inappropriate tests or inappropriate specialist referral (unnecessary referral or referral to the wrong specialty); others with potentially dangerous conditions may not receive appropriate assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

This Guidelines summary covers initial assessment and diagnosis, and includes a useful and concise management algorithm.


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