Cardiovascular and Cerebral Hemodynamics in Asymptomatic Healthy Subjects With/Without Abnormal Head-up Tilt Test Versus Recurrent Fainters

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The aim of this study was to compare hemodynamic and autonomic responses during head-up tilt test (HUTT) between healthy volunteers and patients with a history of fainting and confirmed vasovagal syncope. We hypothesize that the autonomic and hemodynamic physiologic responses remain intact during orthostatic stress in people without previous fainting and negative HUTT, but deteriorate similarly in patients with recurrent vasovagal syncope and in asymptomatic healthy subjects who develop a vasovagal response during HUTT.


The study included 57 asymptomatic healthy volunteers (42% women, mean age 23.7 ± 3.6 years) categorized as negative HUTT (n = 41) and positive HUTT (n = 16). They were compared with 14 patients (50% women, mean age 24.2 ± 6.1 years) with previous spontaneous recurrent syncope and inducible vasovagal response during HUTT. Cerebral and cardiovascular hemodynamic variables were assessed noninvasively during the HUTT in each participant.


In all patients with recurrent syncope, tilt was positive after a mean delay of 15.6 ± 8.6 minutes and did not differ from the time to syncope observed after 19.6 ± 6.9 minutes in asymptomatic healthy subjects with a positive test. A significant decrease throughout the tilting was observed in the blood pressure, peripheral resistances, cerebral blood flow, and vascular efferent sympathetic regulation in both groups of subjects with a positive test.


This study shows that there are subjects, without a history of syncope, who have a positive HUTT with hemodynamic and autonomic responses alike to patients with confirmed vasovagal syncope, precluding them to be selected as controls in vasovagal syncope studies.

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