Syncope associated with supraventricular tachycardia. An expression of tachycardia rate or vasomotor response?
BACKGROUND Syncope in patients with supraventricular tachycardia has been suggested to be an ominous finding, predictive of rapid rates during tachycardia.
METHODS AND RESULTS To explore the mechanism of syncope during supraventricular tachycardia, tachycardia was induced in the supine position and after passive head-up tilting to 60 degrees in 13 patients with atrioventricular (AV) node reentry, eight patients with AV reentry, and one patient with atrial tachycardia. Tilt testing was also performed in sinus rhythm for 30 minutes (the last 15 minutes with isoproterenol infusion). Mean +/- SEM age was 38 +/- 3 years, and 11 patients had a history of syncope (median number of syncopal episodes, three; range, one to 30). The cycle length of tachycardia when upright was shorter than when supine (297 +/- 9 compared with 357 +/- 10 msec, p less than 0.001), and mean blood pressure fell to a greater extent after the onset of tachycardia (fall in mean blood pressure, 53 +/- 6 compared with 24 +/- 3 mm Hg, p less than 0.001). Mean blood pressure correlated significantly with tachycardia cycle length when supine (r = 0.58, p = 0.005) but not when tilted upright (r = 0.18, p = 0.45). Syncope occurred in seven patients during upright tachycardia. These seven patients had a greater fall in mean blood pressure with upright tachycardia than the 15 patients without syncope (fall in mean blood pressure, 70 +/- 4 compared with 45 +/- 5 mm Hg, p = 0.01), but there was no difference in the tachycardia cycle length (311 +/- 10 compared with 290 +/- 11 msec, p = 0.29). Six of the seven patients with tachycardia-induced syncope also had syncope with tilt testing in sinus rhythm compared with four of the 15 patients without tachycardia-induced syncope (p = 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS These data support the view that syncope during supraventricular tachycardia is related to vasomotor factors and does not predict a more rapid tachycardia rate.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association