Novel Therapeutic Options in the Management of Reflex Syncope.

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Novel Therapeutic Options in the Management of Reflex Syncope.

Am J Ther. 2019 Mar/Apr;26(2):e268-e275

Authors: Podoleanu C, Deharo JC

BACKGROUND: Syncope is a symptom associated with a wide range of pathological conditions, ranging from benign to life threatening. The most frequent is the reflex syncope that may be challenging to treat because of the complex and partially unknown pathophysiological mechanism that has to be addressed by the chosen therapy.
AREAS OF UNCERTAINTY: Head-up tilt testing is so far the only clinical test able to reproduce reflex syncope, but its diagnostic yield has been recently redefined. A new mechanism such as adenosine-sensitive syncope and idiopathic atrioventricular block have been recently described, and the appropriate therapy is not yet established. There is uncertainty on the efficacy of theophylline and on the use of cardiac pacing in these patients.
DATA SOURCES: Clinical trial published data and position paper from the main expert groups on fludrocortisone, midodrine, etilefrine, beta-blockers, and cardiac pacing as useful therapies for patients affected by reflex syncope.
THERAPEUTIC ADVANCES: Theophylline proved in observational trials to be efficient in preventing reflex syncope recurrences in patients with documented spontaneous paroxysmal conduction disorders comparable to cardiac pacing in a subgroup of patients. Reboxetine and sibutramine may elicit a significant pressor and tachycardic effect able to delay the onset of symptoms during head-up tilt testing. Droxidopa has short-term effects on improving the symptoms because of orthostatic hypotension. Cardiac pacing is effective in preventing reflex syncope recurrences with best results when the indication for pacemaker implantation was based on the documentation of bradycardia or asystole during the spontaneous event by a cardiac monitor. External compression using elastic bandage or compressive stockings is able to prevent the decrease in blood pressure in patients with orthostatic hypotension.
CONCLUSIONS: The optimal management of the complex diagnostic and therapeutic options can be achieved following a standardized and evidence-based approach to the patient with syncope.

PMID: 30839375 [PubMed - in process]

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