A tilt table test is used to evaluate the cause of unexplained fainting (syncope). We are the only private center in Alexandria, Egypt to perform this test.
Your doctor might recommend a tilt table test to try to trigger your signs and symptoms — lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting — while your heart rate and blood pressure are being monitored.The test measures how your blood pressure and heart rate respond to the force of gravity, the test is normal if your average blood pressure stays stable as the table tilts upward and your heart rate increases by a normal amount.
If you have symptoms while you’re in the upright position on the tilt table, your blood pressure drops and stays low during the test; you may faint or feel lightheaded. This can happen either with an abnormally slow heart rate or with a fast heart rate. That’s because your brain isn’t getting enough blood for the moment.
Potential complications during the test include:
- Nausea and vomiting after fainting.
- Weakness that can last several hours.
- Prolonged low blood pressure after the test.
These complications usually go away when the table is returned to a horizontal position.
During a tilt table test
- You’ll start by lying flat on your back on the motorized table for about five minutes.
- You’ll be moved to a nearly vertical position, where you’ll remain from five to 45 minutes, depending on the reason for the test. While vertical, you’ll be asked to remain as still as possible but to report signs and symptoms such as nausea, sweating, lightheadedness or irregular heartbeats.
- The second part of the test comes if you didn’t experience any symptoms, an IV injection of isoproterenol is given, and it causes your heart to beat faster and stronger. It may make you feel as if you are exercising. It may make you more sensitive to the tilt-table test if your blood pressure didn’t change during the first part of the test.
- You then remain in the upright position for another 15 to 20 minutes.
- If your blood pressure does not drop after about 15 minutes, the nurse will lower the table and the test will be over.
Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored in each position to evaluate your body’s cardiovascular response to the change in position.
After a tilt table test
If you faint while vertical, the table will be returned to a horizontal position immediately, and you’ll be monitored. Most people regain consciousness almost immediately.
How do I prepare for a tilt-table test?
- Don’t eat or drink for at least 2 hours before the test.
- If you will have a morning test, your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink after midnight the night before.
- If you take medicine, ask your doctor if you should keep taking it on your regular schedule before the test.
Some causes of syncope may include:
- Vasovagal syndrome (also called neurocardiogenic syncope). This is a sudden drop in blood pressure with or without a decrease in heart rate.
- Arrhythmia. This is when a heart rate is too slow, too fast, or is irregular. When this happens, the heart can’t get enough blood flow to the body.
- Structural heart disease (problems of the heart muscle or valves). Enlargement of the heart muscle or malfunction of one or more of the heart valves may block blood flow within the heart.
- Postural hypotension that results from changing body position from a prone, supine, or sitting position to a more vertical position.