Spectral analysis of heart rate variability during tilt-table testing in patients with vasovagal syncope

Int J Cardiol. 1998 Apr 1;64(2):185-94. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(98)00039-4.


Spectral analysis of heart rate variability was used to assess changes in autonomic function in 44 patients with vasovagal syndrome and 20 normal controls before and during postural tilt and to attempt to relate such changes to specific types of haemodynamic response to tilt. Frequency domain measurements of the high (HF) and low (LF) frequency bands and the ratio LF/HF were derived from Holter recordings, computed by Fast Fourier Analysis for 4 min intervals immediately before tilt testing, immediately after tilting and just before the end of the test. In the syncopal patients the mean values of LF and HF decreased significantly in response to tilting, while the LF/HF ratio remained constant. All parameters showed a statistically significant increase just before the onset of syncope. In the control group there was an increase in the LF and LF/HF ratio and a decrease in the HF immediately after tilting. The three subgroups of patients had similar patterns of changes in autonomic activity. The results of this study show that syncopal patients have a different pattern of response to the tilting test. The pathological mechanism leading to vasovagal syncope appears to be independent of the specific type of haemodynamic response to tilt testing.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory / methods
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / physiopathology*
  • Tilt-Table Test*
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology