Aim: The present study was aimed at evaluating present randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the effect of alpha-adrenoceptor agonists on vasovagal syncope (VVS).
Methods: According to inclusion and exclusion criteria, articles were selected from medical electronic databases. RCTs were then assessed based on the Juni assessment, and meta-analysis was completed using the Review Manager 4.2 software. Indication to further evaluate effects was the recurrence of syncope during follow-up treatment or a response in the head-up tilt test (HUT) after treatment. The results were stated as odd ratio (OR), with a 95% confidence interval (CI) and a p < 0.05 significant level.
Results: In total, six RCTs were selected. Funnel plot analysis showed possible publication bias. Meta-analysis of the six RCTs, including all 165 patients in the treatment group and 164 patients in the control group, indicated that alpha-adrenoceptor agonists were more effective than placebos in treating VVS (OR = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.06-0.77, p = 0.02). The further, weighted independent t-test disclosed that the weighted mean percentage of responders for midodrine (76.3%+/- 7.7%) was significantly higher than that for etilefrine (65.5%+/- 15.4%) (t = 5.863, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: The currently published RCTs support that alpha-adrenoceptor agonists might be effective for VVS. Midodrine can be regarded as a better choice compared with etilefrine.