, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 235-249
Date: 18 Apr 2009

Quality of Life in Patients with Recurrent Vasovagal or Unexplained Syncope: Influence of Sex, Syncope Type and Illness Representations

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Health-related quality of life (QoL) is reduced in patients with recurrent vasovagal (VVS) or unexplained (US) syncope. Little is known regarding these patients’ QoL as pertains to their capacity to attain their life goals. Factors influencing QoL, such as sex, syncope type and illness representations have not been studied. Our objective is to examine the relationship between illness representations and QoL, as well as possible sex and syncope type differences. One hundred and four patients undergoing tilt-table testing (TTT) for recurrent syncope were interviewed one month before TTT, using questionnaires. Data were analysed using ANCOVAs, a-priori Helmert contrasts for illness representations, and regressions. Patients with US had a poor QoL compared to those with VVS [F(1, 91) = 10.46; p < 0.01], particularly in men (p < 0.01). Patients with higher perceived syncope severity showed an impoverished QoL relative to those with less severe perceptions [F(1, 91) = 5.47; p < 0.05]. A hierarchical regression revealed that illness representations mediate the impact of lifetime number of syncope on QoL. In conclusion, QoL is reduced in these patients, and is influenced by illness representations. Helping patients change their perceptions about their syncope may be an efficient way to promote QoL.