Tilt table testing is a simple and non-invasive test performed for the diagnosis of a patient with syncope of unknown origin.
Most people confuse tilt table testing with the stress test. A stress test is done to evaluate chest pain while tilt table testing is done for the evaluation of dizziness and fainting.
Why Is Tilt Table Testing Done?
Tilt table testing is done to try to trigger the symptoms of dizziness, light-headedness, and fainting while monitoring the heart rate and blood pressure.
It is basically performed to find the cause of fainting while you’re tilted at different angles
Tilt table testing is a safe procedure, but like any other medical procedure, some risks are involved. Complications of this procedure are,
The complications subside when the table is returned to the normal position.
How Is The Tile Table Test Done?
The person who has to undergo the testing is asked, not to eat and drink for two hours or more. The medications can be taken as usual.
While preparing for the tilt table test:
- The patient is made to lie down on a flat table which has straps to hold you in place while the test is being performed.
- Sticky patches or electrodes are placed on the chest, legs, and arms. There are wires connecting the electrodes to an ECG machine which monitors the heart rate.
- A blood pressure monitor is placed on the arm to keep a check on the blood pressure.
- An oximeter is attached to a finger to check the oxygen level of the body.
- The IV line is placed in the arm to deliver medication if needed.
The patient is made to lie on the motorized table for about 5 minutes. The table is then moved to a nearly vertical position and kept in place for 5- 45 minutes, depending on the reason for the test. The patient is asked to report the signs and symptoms such as nausea, light-headedness, sweating or irregular heartbeat.
If the patient does not experience any symptom a medication is inserted through the IV line that prompts the abnormal nervous system reflex that causes him to faint. He is then kept in position for 15 to 20 minutes more.
The heart rate is monitored in each position to evaluate the cardiovascular system’s response to change in position.
After The Tilt Table Test
If the patient loses consciousness when the table is in a vertical position, the table is returned to the horizontal position and the patient is monitored. Some regain consciousness immediately after the position of the table is changed.
In few, when the blood pressure or the heart rate indicates that the patient is going to faint the table is returned to the horizontal position.
Results of Tilt Table Test
The results of the test is based on whether the patient faints during the test or not and blood pressure and heart rate readings. If there is just a slight drop in blood pressure, a slight increase in heart rate, and no signs and symptoms of fainting, the test is negative.
The test does not give a definitive diagnosis. It provides information which can be used along with medical history.
After the test, the patient is able to go home. The doctor changes the medications and advice further test to exclude other causes of fainting.