Pacing and clinical electrophysiology : PACE vol:23 issue:4 Pt 1 pages:493-8
The treatment of neurocardiogenic syncope is insufficient in many cases. We hypothesized that the repeated exposure of the cardiovascular system to orthostatic stress could have a therapeutic effect on the regulation of cardiovascular reflex mechanisms. We have started a program of tilt training for heavily symptomatic patients. After hospital admission, patients were tilted daily (60-degree inclination), until syncope, or until a maximum of 45-90 minutes. The patients were instructed to continue a program of daily tilt training at home: two 30-minute sessions of upright standing against a vertical wall. No medication was prescribed. A total of 260 tilt table sessions were performed in 42 patients. The first tilt test was positive after 21 +/- 13 minutes. The syncope was cardioinhibitory in 14 cases, vasodepressor in 19, mixed in 9. At the time of hospital discharge, 41 patients could support 45 minutes of head-up tilting. After a mean follow-up time of 15.1 (SD 7.8) months, 36 patients remained completely free of syncope. Syncope still occurred in one patient and presyncope in four patients. One patient died from an extensive myocardial infarction. The abnormal autonomic reflex activity of neurocardiogenic syncope can be remedied by a program of continued tilt training without the administration of drugs. This new treatment has proven to be effective for the vasodepressor and the cardioinhibitory type of syncope.