Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of home orthostatic training (HOT) on autonomic reflexes in elderly patients with vasovagal syncope (VVS). Methods: Design and Setting: A single-blind randomised control trial was conducted at Eastbourne District General Hospital, East Sussex NHS Trust. Patients: Individuals with recurrent syncope underwent tilt-table testing between August 2007 and October 2009.Those with at least two syncopal episodes and tilt-test proven VVS were recruited. Participants were divided into those aged >65 years (O65) and those aged <65 years (U65). Interventions: Patients in the O65 group were randomised 1:1 to receive active HOT (O65+) or sham HOT (O65−). The U65 group received active HOT. Participants performed HOT/sham HOT and recorded their training and symptoms. Patients had a repeat tilt test at 3 months. Outcome Measures: Time to syncope at repeat tilt-table testing, low-frequency heart rate variability (LF-HRV), high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), mean upslope baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and mean downslope BRS were assessed. Results: A total of 106 patients with recurrent syncope underwent tilt-table testing. Of these, 45 consecutive patients (30 in the O65 group and 15 in the U65 group) were recruited. Two, one and three patients withdrew or were lost-to-follow-up in the O65+, O65−, and U65 groups, respectively. Symptomatic benefit occurred in four (31 %) of the O65+, four (29 %) of the O65−, and six (50 %) of the U65. None of the autonomic measures changed significantly in any group. No difference was seen with HF-HRV, LF-HRV mean upslope BRS and mean downslope BRS. Fifty per-cent of the O65+ group stopped training because of back pain. Time constraint (25 %) was the most common reason for cessation in the U65 group. Conclusions: Despite good tilt training compliance, no improvement in autonomic measures in any group was shown. The most common reason for cessation of training was back pain in the elderly groups. This study does not support the use of HOT in elderly patients.
Steven Podd - Organization: Eastbourne District General Hospital, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Jacqueline Hunt - Organization: Eastbourne District General Hospital, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Neil Sulke - Organization: Eastbourne District General Hospital, East Sussex, United Kingdom