St George’s University Hospital has been recognised as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for a common and yet all too often mis-diagnosed heart rhythm condition. Carolyn Campbell-Cole, Lead Arrhythmia Nurse Specialist at St George’s has received this prestigious award in recognition of pioneering work for Implementation and Development of Non-Medical Led Intra-Cardiac Monitoring Implantation Service.

Carolyn said: “We are thrilled to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence and to know that our work can be shared with others to improve outcomes for our patients makes us very proud.”

Unexplained loss of consciousness (syncope) can be caused by irregular heart rhythm conditions which sometimes is the only symptom leading to sudden cardiac death is all too often mis-diagnosed as epilepsy.  Studies have shown that 39% of children and 30% of adults with a diagnosis of epilepsy are mis-diagnosed and many have an underlying (potentially fatal) heart rhythm disorder.

Syncope symptoms vary from patient to patient, and from one faint to another but the most common symptoms are light headedness, dizziness, and nausea. Some people will feel very hot and clammy, sweaty and complain of visual and hearing disturbances.  Many individuals become very pale. These symptoms are known as ‘pre-syncope’ and may or may not be followed by a complete blackout.

Syncope Trust And Reflex anoxic Seizures (STARS) Healthcare Pioneers Report – Showcasing Best Practice in Syncope 2022, demonstrates innovative and inspiring work to improve care and quality of life for people living with unexplained loss of consciousness. The award ceremony was held at The Palace of Westminster, London, during World Heart Rhythm Week.

To inspire others to improve care standards for patients with syncope, STARS called for healthcare teams to showcase their exemplary work in syncope services. The case studies were reviewed by an international panel of expert judges, with the winners published in the report and recognised as a ‘Centre of Excellence’.

Kate Slemeck, Managing Director at St George’s University Hospital, said: “I am delighted to extend my congratulations on this achievement to Carolyn and our cardiology team. Being recognised as a Centre of Excellence reflects the outstanding clinical expertise and multi-disciplinary teamwork we have in cardiology at St George’s”.

Chair of STARS Medical Advisory Committee, Prof Richard Sutton reports: “These prestigious awards are held annually in honour of Dr Adam Fitzpatrick who spent his life researching syncope and why so many are mis-diagnosed, he contributed so much to the diagnosis and management of syncope. A Pioneer in his field, he established the first Rapid Access Blackout Clinic (RABC) in Manchester. This year, we have received submissions from around the world with winners from, The Netherlands, Ireland, Canada and the United Kingdom.”

Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder of STARS, said: “Congratulations to 2023 Syncope Healthcare Pioneers and STARS welcomes Centres of Excellence to deliver innovative and new services to improve outcomes for people living with syncope and associated conditions.”

Notes to editors


STARS (Syncope Trust and Reflex anoxic Seizures) is the leading patient advocacy organisation providing guidance and information on syncope, a common cause of unexplained blackouts or faints. STARS aims to ensure that anyone with unexplained loss of consciousness receives timely and accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, support, and direction to appropriate medical professionals:

World Heart Rhythm Week

Arrhythmia Alliance World Heart Rhythm Week is an annual Awareness Week that focuses on raising awareness of all arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) including Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Atrial Fibrillation, and Syncope (unexplained loss of consciousness).  For more information, visit: