Background - In patients with vasovagal syndrome, head-up tilt testing may reproduce symptoms generally associated with vasodepression. Recent research suggests ATP testing identifies patients with abnormal vagal cardiac inhibition. This preliminary study examined the joint contribution of both tests in identifying underlying mechanisms in the general population with vasovagal syndrome. Methods and Results - Both tests were performed in random order during 1 session and outside of predominant sympathetic periods in 72 patients hospitalized for syncope (n=56) or presyncope (n=16) for whom no cardiac or extracardiac cause was found. For passive and isoproterenol- provocative tilt testing by standard protocol, reproduction of symptoms defined a positive test. The ATP test consisted of injecting ATP 20 mg IV at bedside, continuously monitoring ECG and blood pressure; a vagal cardiac pause > 10 seconds defined a positive test. For most patients (64%), ≥ 1 test was positive. Of the 41 patients (57%) with a positive tilt test (either passive or provoked by isoproterenol), 32% had cardiac disease; none had significant bradycardia (<50 bpm). Of the 8 patients (11%) with a positive ATP test, 62% had cardiac disease; the probability of a positive result increased with age (P=0.015). Both tests were positive in 3 patients and negative in 26 patients; the tilt and ATP test results were uncorrelated (P=0.28). Conclusions - Results suggest tilt and ATP tests individually and jointly determine the mechanism of vasovagal symptoms in most patients and that vagal cardiac inhibition increases with age.
- Vagus nerve