Neurally Mediated Syncope in Children: Results of Tilt Testing, Treatment, and Long-Term Follow-Up
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Despite a great deal of literature concerning children with neurally mediated syncope (NMS) there is no clear standard of diagnosis or consistent approach to therapy. This report reviews our experience with tilt testing all patients who presented with syncope during a 3-year period. All patients referred for evaluation of syncope who underwent tilt testing were retrospectively reviewed. Follow-up was obtained at return visits or by telephone interview. Sixty patients were identified. The average age was 13.5 ± 3.0 years. Twenty-six patients (43%) had positive tilt tests. Follow-up was available for 56 patients. Twelve of these patients had causes other than NMS found for their symptoms. The remaining 44 patients all had histories consistent with NMS. Nineteen of these patients had positive tilt tests. All 44 patients reported either a decrease or no recurrence of syncope, and 41 patients reported a decrease or no recurrence of presyncopal symptoms. Recurrence of syncope or symptoms was not related to the results of the tilt test. Twenty-five of the 44 patients used conservative measures (extra fluids or supplemental salt) and only 3 patients were taking medications. The use of conservative measures or medications was not related to the tilt test results. Tilt testing has a high false-negative and false-positive rate and should not be used as the standard for identifying patients with NMS. The long-term follow-up of patients with NMS demonstrates that regardless of the results of the tilt test, almost all have improved or resolved symptoms with simple interventions.
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