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Am J Med Sci. 1999 Feb;317(2):110-6.

Using a tilt table to evaluate syncope.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Upright tilt testing is commonly used in the evaluation of patients with syncope to provoke hypotension and/or bradycardia in the laboratory. The most common type of response is provocation of neurally mediated syndrome (vasovagal syncope). The American College of Cardiology Expert Consensus has proposed indications for tilt testing. The most common indication is recurrent syncope of unexplained cause. Upright tilt testing methods have not been standardized. The most common protocols in this country use a tilt angle of 60-80 degrees and use isoproterenol infusion after a period of drug-free tilt testing. The sensitivity of upright tilt testing is estimated to be 67-83%, and the specificity is between 75 and 100%. The reproducibility of the test has been variable. In patients with unexplained syncope, positive responses are found to be 50% without the use of isoproterenol and 64% with the use of isoproterenol. Many different treatments have been used. At this time, there is no consensus regarding the most effective treatment. Beta-blockers and fludrocortisone plus salt are the most commonly used drugs. Pacemakers have been used, but their role is ill-defined at this time.

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