Role of pacemakers in treating neurocardiogenic syncope

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2003 Jan;18(1):47-52. doi: 10.1097/00001573-200301000-00007.


Patients with frequent vasovagal syncope have a poor quality of life and often resist treatment with standard pharmacologic approaches. Clinical vasovagal syncope may be associated with some degree of bradycardia. Studies of temporary pacing during tilt table tests showed that pacing prevented syncope in a little more than half of patients who developed a vasovagal response. Six open-label studies of permanent pacing show that permanent pacemaker therapy is associated with substantial improvement over medical therapy. The roles of specific pacemaker modes have not been determined, although there is some evidence that rate-drop responsiveness helps. The second Vasovagal Pacemaker Study will quantify the true benefits of pacing for vasovagal syncope and assess the role of rate-drop response algorithms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial / standards
  • Humans
  • Pacemaker, Artificial* / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / diagnosis
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / prevention & control
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / therapy*
  • United States