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Circulation. 1995 Jul 1;92(1):54-8.

Provocation of hypotension during head-up tilt testing in subjects with no history of syncope or presyncope.

Author information

1
Electrophysiology Laboratory, Milwaukee Heart Institute of Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wis., USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Head-up tilt test is increasingly being used to evaluate patients with syncope. This study was designed to evaluate the specificity of head-up tilt testing using different tilt angles and isoproterenol infusion doses in normal volunteers with no prior history of syncope or presyncope.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

One hundred fifty volunteers were randomized to two groups of 75 each. In group 1, subjects were further randomized to have head-up tilt testing at a 60, 70, or 80 degree angle at baseline followed by repeat tilt testing during a low-dose isoproterenol infusion that increased the heart rate by an average of 20%. In group 2, after having a baseline head-up tilt test at a 70 degree angle for a maximum of 20 minutes, subjects were randomized to have a repeat tilt table testing at a 70 degree angle during a low-dose, 3 micrograms/min, or 5 micrograms/min isoproterenol infusion. In group 1, syncope or presyncope along with hypotension developed in 2 subjects during the baseline test at 60 and 70 degrees of tilt and in 5 subjects during tilting at 80 degrees. The addition of low-dose isoproterenol reduced the specificity minimally from 92% to 88% at both 60 and 70 degrees of tilt but substantially to 60% at an 80 degrees angle. However, 6 of the 10 subjects with a positive test at an 80 degree angle had an abnormal response after 10 minutes of tilt testing. In group 2, using various isoproterenol doses with tilt table testing at a 70 degree angle, low-dose (mean infusion dose, 1.5 +/- 0.45 microgram/min), 3 micrograms/min, and 5 micrograms/min isoproterenol infusions elicited an abnormal response in 1 (4%), 5 (20%), and 14 (56%) of the subjects, respectively. Using multiple logistic regression analysis, head-up tilt testing at an 80 degree angle (P = .01) or during 3 micrograms/min (P = .02) and 5 micrograms/min isoproterenol infusion rates (P < .001) was the most significant predictor of an abnormal response.

CONCLUSIONS:

Head-up tilt testing at a 60 or 70 degree angle with or without low-dose isoproterenol infusion provides an adequate specificity. Caution is needed, however, in interpreting the results if the head-up tilt test at 80 degrees is extended beyond 10 minutes or if high doses of isoproterenol are used.

PMID:
7788917
DOI:
10.1161/01.cir.92.1.54
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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