Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Left ventricular geometry and function preceding neurally mediated syncope.

Circulation 2000 Februrary 23
BACKGROUND: Neurally mediated syncope has been associated with increased left ventricular (LV) fractional shortening (FS) during tilt testing, which is consistent with the hypothesis that the stimulation of LV mechanoreceptors leads to reflex hypotension and/or bradycardia. However, FS does not represent true LV contractility because of its dependence on afterload and preload.

METHODS AND RESULTS: To elucidate the role of increased contractility in the mediation of neurally mediated syncope, we compared echocardiographic measures of LV performance corrected for end-systolic stress (ESS) in 21 patients (13 women and 8 men) with unexplained syncope who had either positive (n=10) or negative (n=11) responses to a tilt-table test. Two-dimensional echocardiographic LV imaging was performed at baseline and during the initial 5 minutes of upright tilt. In the supine position, both groups had similar LV end-diastolic volume indexes, stroke volumes, FS, circumferential ESS, and afterload-independent measures of LV performance (stress-corrected midwall and FS). However, after 5 minutes of upright tilt, patients who subsequently had a positive test had a lower stroke volume, lower stress-corrected midwall shortening, and endocardial FS. The tilt-positive group also had a greater fall in ESS and FS early during upright tilt.

CONCLUSIONS: Reduced ESS, LV volume, and chamber function during initial upright tilt are associated with a subsequent positive tilt response in patients with unexplained syncope. These data suggest that if paradoxic activation of LV mechanoreceptors has a role in mediating neurally mediated syncope, it is not triggered by LV hypercontractility or increased systolic wall stress during the initial period of upright tilt.

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