Overview

The test is done by changing a patient’s position in a quick manner and seeing how his blood pressure and heart rate respond. It is done to people with rapid heartbeat and syncope or who often feel faint when going from a sitting to standing position. Potential risks may include nausea, dizziness, and fainting. The purpose of this study is for a doctor to view firsthand the symptoms the patient experience when changing position.

Doctors usually recommend this test to patients having medical conditions, including:

Neutrally mediated hypotension
This is also called as the fainting reflex or autonomic dysfunction. This condition causes a person’s heart rate to slow down instead of speed up when they stand, keeping blood from pooling in the legs and arms making a person feel faint.

Neutrally mediated syncope
This is also called as the fainting reflex or autonomic dysfunction. This condition causes a person’s heart rate to slow down instead of speed up when they stand, keeping blood from pooling in the legs and arms making a person feel faint.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
A person experiences this disorder when doing abrupt standing. There will be an increase heart rate up to 30 beats and feeling faint within 10 minutes of standing up from a sitting position.

Patient Preparation

You will be advised not to eat four to six hours before the test to minimize the chance of vomiting during the exam.
Consider arranging for a ride before hand to make sure someone or adult companion is available.

Side Effects

No ill effects during the procedure. However, there might be symptoms of dizziness, very nauseated, feeling faint, or even fainting.

What happens during a Tilt-table Test

The tilt table test allows a medical professional to adjust the angle of the flat top while you’re lying down.

Procedure

You will lie down on a special table and the medical professional will attach blood pressure cuff, electrocardiogram (ECG) leads or a defibrillator and cardiac monitor. An intravenous (IV) line in your arm will be started which is for emergency event. A technician will tilt or move the table so your head is elevated about 75 degrees above the rest of your body for 30 minutes and that your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored. If at any time your blood pressure drops too much or you feel faint, the technician will return the table to the starting position that will help you feel better. A certain medication will be given sublingually. Usually the test lasts for an hour and a half if you don’t have changes in your vital signs. If your vital signs do change of you don’t feel well during the test, the doctor will stop the test.

After the Test

If you feel faint or episodes of seizures during or after the test, you will be asked to remain in the facility for 30 to 60 minutes until there is no symptoms at all.

Tilt-table test results

What negative means
The doctor will consider the test to be negative if you don’t have a reaction during the test. You may still have medical condition related to position changes and that your doctor may recommend other test for further management

What positive means
If your blood pressure changes during the test, the test results are positive. Your doctor’s recommendations will depend on how your body reacted. For example, if your heart rate slows, your doctor may recommend additional tests to look at your heart. They may prescribe a medication to prevent blood pressure drops. If your heart rate quickens, a doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the likelihood that reaction will occur. If you do receive a positive result, additional tests may be needed to look further into the heart.

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