Head-Upright Tilt-Table Testing: A Useful Tool in the Evaluation and Management of Recurrent Vertigo of Unknown Origin Associated with Near-Syncope or Syncope Article (Web of Science)


  • Recurrent idiopathic vertigo associated with near-syncope and syncope is a common perplexing problem, some cases of which are considered autonomically mediated (vasovagal). Upright-tilt-table testing has emerged as a potential method to test for vasovagal episodes. This study evaluated the use of this technique in the evaluation and management of patients with recurrent idiopathic vertigo associated with near-syncope or syncope. Twenty-one patients with recurrent unexplained vertigo and syncope/near-syncope and 11 control subjects were evaluated by use of an upright-tilt-table test for 30 minutes, with or without a graded isoproterenol infusion (1 to 4 μg/min given intravenously), in an attempt to provoke hypotension, bradycardia, or both, which reproduced the patient's symptoms. The patients included 10 men and 11 women (mean age, 51 ± 16 years). Eleven controls with no history of vertigo were also studied. Transcranial Doppler sonography was used to assess cerebral arteriolar blood flow during tilt. All tilt-positive patients were placed on therapy with either β-blockers, disopyramide, or transdermal scopolamine, the effectiveness of which was determined with another tilt-table study. Symptoms occurred in seven patients (33%) during the baseline tilt and in eight patients (38%) during isoproterenol infusion (total positives, 71%). Transcranial Doppler sonography demonstrated a 225% ± 192% increase in pulsatility index and a 70% ± 29% increase in resistance index (indicative of cerebral arteriolar vasoconstriction) at the time of vertigo. No control subject experienced syncope during this test. Each tilt-positive patient eventually became tilt-negative with therapy, and over a mean follow-up period of 26 months, no further episodes have occurred. We conclude that head-upright tilt-table testing may be a valuable tool in the evaluation of recurrent idiopathic vertigo associated with near-syncope or syncope and in the evaluation of pharmacotherapy.


  • Grubb, Blair
  • Rubin, Allan M.
  • Wolfe, Douglas
  • Temesy-Armos, Peter
  • Hahn, Harry
  • Elliott, Laura

publication date

  • 1992

published in

number of pages

  • 6

start page

  • 570

end page

  • 576


  • 107


  • 4