5 years ago

A new test for diagnosing vasovagal syncope: Standing after treadmill test with sublingual nitrate administration

Heiko J. Schmitt, Kyung Sun Song, Christopher Pickett, Ho-Jun Jang, Tae-Hoon Kim, Juyong Lee, Sung Yun Cho, Sihun Kim

by Tae-Hoon Kim, Ho-Jun Jang, Sihun Kim, Sung Yun Cho, Kyung Sun Song, Christopher Pickett, Heiko J. Schmitt, Juyong Lee


Increased adrenergic tone might be an additional trigger of orthostatic stress of vasovagal syncope (VVS). Exercise before standing might provide increased sensitivity compared to standing using a sublingual nitroglycerines protocol during tilt table testing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of treadmill testing before standing with nitroglycerin administration.

Methods and results

A total of 36 patients with syncope or presyncope were enrolled for the test. VVS was confirmed in 29 patients according to the Calgary Score (≥ -2), including 20 patients who were likely to have typical (classical) VVS. All 36 subjects were subjected to a novel provocation test consisting of treadmill test using the Bruce protocol followed by standing with administration of 300 μg sublingual nitroglycerin. Consequently, syncope or presyncope occurred in 22 patients of the 36 patients. The sensitivity and a specificity of the test for Calgary score based VVS was 82.7% and 85.75%, respectively. Reproducibility rate for typical VVS was 90% (18 of 20). In all symptomatic patients, systolic blood pressure dropped to < 90 mmHg and symptom occurred a mean of 6.7 ± 2.3 minutes after the nitroglycerine administration. No patient required anticholinergics injection to restore vital signs.


Treadmill test with administration of sublingual nitroglycerines might be safely used to reproduce syncope in patients with VVS. More clinical experience and confirmation are needed to validate this protocol.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179631

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