Official organ of the Association of Physiologist and Pharmacologists of India



    IJPP  2004; 48 (2) : 213 - 218



Tilt Table Testing in the Diagnostic Evaluation of Presyncope and Syncope : a Case-Series Report


E. S. Prakash1, Madanmohan1*, Sunil K. Narayan2,  Uday Prashanth3, M. G. Kamath1,

Kaviraja Udupa1, K. R. Sethuraman3, S. Srinivasan4 and R. Anil Kumar5

Departments of Physiology1, Neurology2, Medicine3, Pediatrics4 and Cardiology5,

Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER),

Pondicherry 605 006


( Received on June 17, 2003 )


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Abstract : Tilt table testing has long been used as a standard tool in the diagnostic evaluation of syncope. However, differences of opinion exist with regard to its utility in the evaluation of patients with only presyncopal attacks. We present the results of drug-free, 70-degree head-up tilt table tests (maximum duration of 45 minutes), conducted between May 2002 and May 2003 in the Department of Physiology at JIPMER. This series consisted of both male and female patients (age 679 yr) with presyncope (n = 43), unexplained syncope (n = 43) and asymptomatic healthy volunteers without a history of syncope (n = 14). 28 out of 43 patients with unexplained syncope had a history of recurrent syncope while the remaining 15 had only 1 episode. 2 out of 43 patients (4.6%) with a history of only presyncopal attacks had a positive test (induction of intense presyncope and/or syncope accompanied by hypotension and/or a relative bradycardia). 21 out of 43 patients (49%) with a history of syncope had a positive test. 7 had vasodepressor syncope due to hypotension, 6 had cardioinhibitory syncope characterized by asystole and 10 had a mixed form of the vasovagal syndrome characterized by hypotension as well as bradycardia. 18 out of 28 patients (64%) with recurrent unexplained syncope had a positive test. All fourteen healthy volunteers had a negative test. We conclude that tilt table testing is useful in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with unexplained syncope, especially those with recurrent syncope, but not in the evaluation of patients with presyncope alone.

Key words : tilt table test                syncope             presyncope         vasovagal syncope





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