Tilt Table Test

Tilt Table Test

A tilt table test is generally used to evaluate the cause of unexplained fainting (syncope).

A doctor might recommend a tilt table test if the patient has repeated, unexplained episodes of lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting. The test is performed while monitoring the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure and can help determine if the cause of the fainting is related to either of these.

How is it performed?

  • The technologist will have the patient lie flat on the table that has a footboard and place straps around them to hold them in place.
  • Electrodes of an ECG are then attached to the patient’s chest, legs and arms to monitor their heart rate. A blood pressure monitor is attached to the patient’s finger to monitor their blood pressure during the test.
  • The procedure will begin with the patient lying flat on the motorised table for about five minutes.
  • Then, the patient is tilted to a nearly vertical position, where they will remain from five to 45 minutes, depending on the reason for the test. 
  • If the patient does not faint or have other symptoms within the 45 minutes, they might receive the medication Isoproterenol through an IV line in their arm. The medication may prompt the abnormal nervous system reflex that causes them to faint.
  • The patient will then remain in the upright position for another 15 to 20 minutes, while their heart rate and blood pressure are being monitored to evaluate the cardiovascular response to the change in position.
  • If the patient faints while vertical, the table will be returned to the horizontal position immediately and they’ll be monitored. 
  • In some cases, if the blood pressure and heart rate changes indicate that the patient is about to faint, the table is returned to the horizontal position immediately so that they don’t lose consciousness.
  • When the test is complete, the results are analysed by a cardiologist and a diagnosis will be made.

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