Improved Patient Outcomes by Normalizing Sympathovagal Balance: Differentiating Syncope-Precise Subtype Differentiation Leads to Improved Outcomes

Cardiol Res Pract. 2018 May 16;2018:9532141. doi: 10.1155/2018/9532141. eCollection 2018.


Syncope is difficult to definitively diagnose, even with tilt-table testing and beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements, the gold-standard. Both are qualitative, subjective assessments. There are subtypes of syncope associated with autonomic conditions for which tilt-table testing is not useful. Heart rate variability analyses also include too much ambiguity. Three subtypes of syncope are differentiated: vasovagal syncope (VVS) due to parasympathetic excess (VVS-PE), VVS with abnormal heart rate response (VVS-HR), and VVS without PE (VVS-PN). P&S monitoring (ANSAR, Inc., Philadelphia, PA) differentiates subtypes in 2727 cardiology patients (50.5% female; average age: 57 years; age range: 12-100 years), serially tested over four years (3.3 tests per patient, average). P&S monitoring noninvasively, independently, and simultaneously measures parasympathetic and sympathetic (P&S) activity, including the normal P-decrease followed by an S-increase with head-up postural change (standing). Syncope, as an S-excess (SE) with stand, is differentiated from orthostatic dysfunction (e.g., POTS) as S-withdrawal with stand. Upon standing, VVS-PE is further differentiated as SE with PE, VVS-HR as SE with abnormal HR, and VVS-PN as SE with normal P- and HR-responses. Improved understanding of the underlying pathophysiology by more accurate subtyping leads to more precise therapy and improved outcomes.