This two-year award allows Dr. Staples to explore whether the risk of a motor vehicle crash is heightened after an emergency department visit for syncope.
Syncope is the medical term for fainting and is responsible for 1 per cent of all North American emergency department visits. The main symptom of syncope is a sudden but brief loss of consciousness. Pre-syncope, characterized by a feeling of “light-headedness,” can occur either before passing out or independently. Some syncope patients will have a repeat episode within a year, and having this recurrence while driving is likely to result in a crash.
Currently, there is a lack of evidence-based recommendations on driving guidelines for post-syncope patients. Dr. Staples will use B.C.’s provincial health and driving insurance databases to determine if crash risk is higher in syncope patients, and which groups of patients are at the highest risk for a motor vehicle crash. The study will generate evidence on the risks associated with driving after syncope, inform road safety policies and international clinical practice guidelines, and potentially avert thousands of crashes annually worldwide.
“The best treatment for trauma is to prevent it from happening,” said Dr. Staples. “We hope our study’s results will help to keep British Columbians safe and healthy for years to come.”
VCHRI’s annual awards recognize the efforts of investigators through peer-reviewed salary support awards, and enable researchers to reduce their clinical practice commitments and build their research capacity to expand the possibilities of improving health research.