Efficacy of theophylline in patients with syncope without prodromes with normal heart and normal ECG

Michele Brignole, Matteo Iori, Diana Solari, Nicola Bottoni, Giulia Rivasi, Andrea Ungar, Jean Claude Deharo, Regis Guieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Patients affected by syncope without or with very short (≤5 s) prodrome with normal heart and normal ECG have been seen to present low plasma adenosine levels. We investigated whether chronic treatment of these patients with theophylline, a non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist, results in clinical benefit. Methods: In a consecutive case-series of 16 patients (mean age 47 ± 25 years, 9 females) who had ECG documentation of asystolic syncope, we compared the incidence of syncopal recurrence during a period without and a period with tailored theophylline therapy. Results: During a median of 60 months before ECG documentation of the index episode, the patients had a median of 2 syncopes per year. During the 6 months of the study phase without therapy, the patients had a median of 2.6 syncopes per year, p = 0.63. During the 23 months of the study phase with theophylline, the patients had a median of 0.4 syncopes per year, p = 0.005 vs history and p = 0.005 vs no therapy. In the 13 patients who had an implantable loop recorder during both study phases, the incidence of asystolic episodes > 3 s decreased from 9.6 per year to 1.1 per year, p = 0.0007. During theophylline treatment, syncope recurred in 1/5 (20%) patients who had an idiopathic atrioventricular block as the index event versus 9/11 (81%) patients who had a sinus arrest, p = 0.005. Conclusion: Theophylline is effective in reducing syncopal burden in patients with syncope without prodromes with normal heart and normal ECG. Its efficacy is greater in those with idiopathic atrioventricular block.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adenosine
  • Atrioventricular block
  • Implantable loop recorder
  • Sinus arrest
  • Syncope
  • Theophylline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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