Journal Article

Is a pacemaker indicated for vasovagal patients with severe cardioinhibitory reflex as identified by the ATP test?

D. Flammang, M. Antiel, T. Church, A. Chassing, D. Hamani, E. Donal and M. Waynberger

in EP Europace

Published on behalf of European Heart Rhythm Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

Volume 1, issue 2, pages 140-145
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 1099-5129
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1532-2092 | DOI:
Is a pacemaker indicated for vasovagal patients with severe cardioinhibitory reflex as identified by the ATP test?

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A previous observational study suggested that, in syncopal elderly patients with vasovagal syndrome, a test using adenosine-5′-triphosphate (intravenous ATP 20 mg. 2 ml−1) could identify a subgroup of patients at high risk of severe cardioinhibitory response and guide the therapeutic strategy. To test one aspect of these results prospectively, we designed a small study focusing only on vasovagal patients with abnormal response to ATP testing.


Twenty patients hospitalized for syncope, which was considered to be vasovagal, and exhibiting an abnormal ATP test—defined by a longer than 10 s cardiac pause—were randomized to two groups: half to implan-tation with a dual-chamber pacemaker and half to usual medical care. All patients who were not hospitalized for recurrences were assessed every 6 months in the clinic or by telephone.


At baseline, the randomized patient groups were similar in their demographic and health characteristics and in the results of their ATP tests, for example the mean cardiac pause (21·4±9·3 vs 15·9±3·7 s) and the mean interval between escape beats during the pause (7·29±4·2 vs 7·48±3·3 s). During a mean follow-up of 52 months, recurrences appeared in six of the 10 usual-care patients (range 0·2–29 months) but in none of the implanted patients (P<0·02).


This limited trial (1) supports the conclusion that patients with an abnormal ATP test who receive a dual-chamber pacemaker suffer fewer recurrences than those who are monitored only; and (2) consequently further supports the hypothesis that, among vasovagal patients, a cardiac pause of longer than 10 s in patients administered ATP identifies those at high risk of symptomatic vagal cardiac inhibition.

Keywords: ATP; syncope; vasovagal syndrome; neuro-cardiogenic syncope; pacemaker; randomized trial

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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