Do not perform computed tomography (CT) or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain to patients who have experienced transient loss of consciousness in the absence of other neurological symptoms and have normal neurological examination. Adapted from the American College of Physicians

Type of practice


Topic Area


In patients who have experienced a witnessed loss of consciousness, without the suspicion of seizure and in the absence of other neurological signs or symptoms, the probability that central nervous system damage is the cause is very low and imaging of the brain does not improve prognosis. Imaging of the brain may be indicated in selected cases in which head trauma caused by loss of consciousness is suspected.


1. ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of syncope European Heart Journal, Volume 39, Issue 21, 01 June 2018, Pages 1883–1948
2. Shen W-K, Sheldon RS, Benditt DG, Cohen MI, Forman DE, Goldberger ZD, Grubb BP, Hamdan MH, Krahn AD, Link
MS, Olshansky B, Raj SR, Sandhu RK, Sorajja D, Sun BC, Yancy CW. 2017 ACC/AHA/HRS guideline for the evaluation and management of patients with syncope: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation. 2017;136:e60–e122. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000499.



Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.