This National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline covers assessment, diagnosis and referral for people over 16 who have had a transient loss of consciousness (TLoC; also called a blackout). It aims to improve care for people with TLoC by specifying the most effective assessments and recommending when to refer to a specialist.
TLoC is very common: it affects up to half the population in the UK at some point in their lives. TLoC may be defined as spontaneous loss of consciousness with complete recovery. In this context, complete recovery would involve full recovery of consciousness without any residual neurological deficit. An episode of TLoC is often described as a 'blackout' or a 'collapse', but some people collapse without TLoC and this guideline does not cover that situation. There are various causes of TLoC, including cardiovascular disorders (which are the most common), neurological conditions such as epilepsy, and psychogenic attacks.
This guideline aims to define the appropriate pathways for the initial assessment, diagnosis and specialist referral of people who have had TLoC, so that they receive the correct diagnosis quickly, efficiently and cost effectively, leading to a suitable management plan. The approach of the Guideline Development Group was to produce a guideline in the form of an algorithm, pointing clinicians and patients towards those areas where guidance already exists (such as the guidance on epilepsy [NICE clinical guideline 20]; replaced by NICE clinical guideline 137), and providing new guidance in other areas, namely for people with syncope.
You can read the guideline on NICE's website.