Efficacy of tilt training in patients with vasovagal syncope.Kardiol Pol. 2006 Jun; 64(6):602-8; discussion 609-10.KP
Besides pharmacological therapy and pacemaker implantation, tilt training is a promising method of treatment in patients with vasovagal syncope (VVS). Tilt training is usually offered to patients with malignant or recurrent VVS which impairs their quality of life and carries a risk of injury.
To assess the efficacy of tilt training in patients with VVS.
The study group consisted of 40 patients (29 females, 11 males, aged 36.6+/-14 years, range 18-57 years) who underwent tilt training using tilt table testing according to the Westminster protocol. The mean number of syncopal episodes prior to the initiation of tilt training was 6.5+/-4.9 (range 0-20); 3 patients had a history of very frequent faints. According to the VASIS classification, type I VVS (mixed) was diagnosed in 17 patients, type II (cardioinhibitory) in 22 subjects, and type III (vasodepressive) in one patient. Mean follow-up duration was 35.1+/-13.5 months. The control group, which did not undergo the tilt testing programme, consisted of 29 patients with VVS (25 females, 4 males, mean age 44.2+/-15.0 years) who had a mean of 3.3+/-3.2 (range 0-12) syncopal episodes in the past (p <0.05 vs study group); 6 of these patients had only pre-syncopal episodes. Type I VVS was diagnosed in 23 controls and type II VVS in 6 control subjects (syncope occurred during the passive phase of tilt testing in 7 subjects, whereas the remaining 22 fainted during NTG infusion).
Of the patients from the study group, 3 underwent pacemaker implantation at the time of the initiation of tilt training. At the end of follow-up, 31 (77.5%) patients remained free from syncope recurrences, 5 had syncopal episodes during the initial phase of tilt training, whereas the remaining 4 continued to suffer from syncopal episodes. Out of 3 patients with presyncope, 2 had no syncope recurrences whereas 1 patient continued to have presyncopal attacks. Out of 3 patients with pacemakers, 1 reported activation of pacing in the interventional mode. During the follow-up period, in 5 patients from the study group the diagnosis of VVS was not confirmed and another condition was diagnosed. In the control group, syncope recurrences occurred in 13 (44.5%) patients (p <0.05 vs study group).
In patients with VVS, tilt training is effective in the majority of patients. Syncopal or presyncopal episodes and positive results of tilt testing take place more frequently in the early rather than in the late phase of training. Cessation of tilt training causes a recurrence of positive results of tilt testing in spite of the lack of spontaneous syncopal episodes. During long-term observation, a proper diagnosis, different from VVS, can be established in some patients.