Panel consensus - Putting it together: A new treatment algorithm for vasovagal syncope and related disorders

Daniel M. Bloomfield, Robert Sheldon, Blair P. Grubb, Hugh Calkins, Richard Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The consensus process that culminated in this symposium established an algorithm to guide the diagnosis and treatment of patients with vasovagal syncope and related disorders. In some patients, the hemodynamic response to standing may identify an abnormality - postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or orthostatic hypotension - that can often be treated without further testing. When the response to standing is normal, tilt-table testing may be useful in making the diagnosis of vasovagal syncope and guiding treatment. In some patients, however, the diagnosis is clear from the history, and tilt-table testing may not be necessary. Not all patients with vasovagal syncope need to be treated, and many can be treated effectively with education, reassurance, and a simple increase in dietary salt. In evaluating the results of tilt-table testing, an important consideration is the distinction between vasovagal syncope and the dysautonomic response to tilt characterized by a gradual and progressive decrease in blood pressure that leads to syncope. Current practice patterns suggest that β blockers, fludrocortisone, and midodrine, are commonly used to treat patients with vasovagal syncope, and patients with the dysautonomic response are generally treated with fludrocortisone and midodrine. Permanent pacing with specialized pacing algorithms should be considered for patients with frequent vasovagal syncope that is refractory to medical therapy. The guidelines proposed here are an amalgam of clinical experience, expert opinion, and research evidence; however, they do not suggest a standard of care for all patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number8 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Oct 21 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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