Inhibitory Effect of Enalapril on Neurally Mediated Syncope in Elderly Patients

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A dramatic increase in catecholamine (CA) concentration is believed to be a primary trigger of the neurally mediated syncope (NMS) in elderly subjects. The hypercontractile state of the heart might be alleviated by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor through depression of CA release from the sympathetic nerve ending. Thus ACE inhibitor might have positive effect on the prevention of NMS. In this study, 24 elderly subjects who had reproducible NMS induced with head-up tilt test (HUT) were randomized and double-blind divided into placebo and ACE-inhibitor groups. The plasma CA concentration [norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E)] were measured during HUT, and the effects of enalapril on NMS were observed in the two groups. Before administration of enalapril, plasma CA concentrations were significantly increased during HUT compared with those in the supine position; In contrast, administration of the enalapril (10 mg/day) for >1 year inhibited the concentration of plasma CA increase and prevented syncope in all 12 patients (p < 0.05); however, placebo had no effect on plasma CA concentrations and syncope disappeared in only two of 12 patients after administration of placebo. From this study, we conclude that enalapril can prevent NMS in patients, presumably because of its part in the inhibition of CA release from sympathetic nerve endings.

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