Provocation of neurocardiogenic syncope during head-up tilt testing in children: comparison between isoproterenol and nitroglycerin.Pediatrics. 2007 Feb; 119(2):e419-25.Ped
Although nitroglycerin- and isoproterenol-augmented tilt tests are of equal value in the diagnosis of neurocardiogenic syncope in adults, no data exist in children. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of the 2 tests in a pediatric population.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We studied 85 patients (33 boys; mean age: 11.6 +/- 2.9 years). Of them, 56 had a diagnostic history of neurocardiogenic syncope, whereas 29 served as controls. After a negative passive phase, they were randomly assigned to either intravenous isoproterenol or sublingual nitroglycerin, and tilt was continued for 20 minutes.
Sensitivity was 0.78 for the isoproterenol test and 0.79 for the nitroglycerin test, but specificity was significantly higher for isoproterenol test compared with nitroglycerin test. In patients with a positive test, the duration of the recovery period was significantly longer after nitroglycerin (8.4 +/- 2.7 minutes) than after isoproterenol (5.1 +/- 1.6 minutes).
Nitroglycerin- and isoproterenol-augmented tilt tests are associated with equal sensitivity in the diagnosis of neurocardiogenic syncope in children and adolescents. However, nitroglycerin results in more false-positive tests and produces more prolonged vasovagal symptoms. Our data do not support the routine use of nitroglycerin in the evaluation of syncope in this age group.