In the present manuscript the different methodologies aimed at assessing the autonomic profile in humans during a gravitational stimulus have been described. In addition, strengths and drawbacks of the tilt test in relation to occasional orthostatic intolerance were addressed. Finally, different autonomic abnormalities underlying occasional and chronic orthostatic intolerance syndromes have been schematically highlighted. The direct recording of the neural sympathetic discharge from the peroneal nerve (MSNA), in spite of its invasive nature, still represents the recognized reference to quantify the changes in the sympathetic activity to the vessels attending postural modifications. The increase of plasma norepinephrine during a tilt test is achieved by both an increase in plasma spillover and a concomitant decrease in systemic clearance. Changes in the indices of cardiac sympathetic and vagal modulation may also be quantified during a tilt test by power spectrum analysis of RR interval variability. The spectral markers of cardiac autonomic control, if evaluated concomitantly with MSNA, may contribute to assess abnormalities in the regional distribution of the sympathetic activity to the heart and the vessels. The capability of the tilt test of reproducing a vasovagal event or of inducing "false positive responses" seems to be markedly affected by the age, thus suggesting that additional or different etiopathogenetic mechanisms might be involved in the loss of consciousness in older as compared to younger subjects. In subjects suffering from occasional or habitual neurally mediated syncope an increase or, respectively, a decrease in cardiac and vascular sympathetic modulation has been documented before the loss of consciousness. In patients with pure autonomic failure, a global dysautonomia affecting both the sympathetic and the vagal modulation to the heart, seems to be present. In chronic orthostatic intolerance, the most common form of dysautonomia of young women, an abnormal regional distribution of sympathetic activity has been hypothesized during up-right posture. Indeed, during standing a blunted increase of sympathetic activity to the vessels is attended by a cardiac sympathetic overactivity leading to an exaggerated tachycardia.
|Translated title of the contribution||Tilt test and orthostatic intolerance: abnormalities in the neural sympathetic response to gravitational stimulus|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Italian Heart Journal|
|Issue number||5 Suppl|
|Publication status||Published - May 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine