Tilt-Table Testing

If you’ve fainted, or tend to feel lightheaded, tilt-table testing is a method used to find out why this may be happening. This test will measure how your blood pressure and heart rate respond to changes in posture from lying to standing.

Why Should I Have a Tilt-Table Test?

Fainting, also known as Syncope, can be caused by a number of different medical problems or by taking various medicines. Some reasons for syncope can include:

  • Arrhythmia: When the heart rate is irregular, preventing the heart from getting enough blood flow to the body.
  • Heart Attack: When damage to the heart muscle causes insufficient blood supply.
  • Cardiomyopathy (Ventricular Dysfunction): When the ventricles, or the heart’s pumping chambers, are weakened or fail.
  • Hypoglycemia: When your blood sugar is too low.

In addition to the above, low blood pressure due to prolonged bed rest or nervous disorders can also cause fainting. However, a tilt-table test will allow doctors to trigger symptoms while watching you. If your blood pressure stays normal as the table tilts upwards, but your heart increases by a small amount, your test will be normal. If your blood pressure or heart rate does not stay normal, the doctor will use this to collect information for further testing.

What Happens During a Tilt-Table Test?

The specifics of this test may be dependent on your specific provider’s practices, but generally, a tilt-table test will follow these steps:

  • Do not eat or drink for at least 2 hours prior to the test.
  • Remove all jewelry, foreign objects, and clothing from the waist up.
  • If medicine is needed, and IV line will be started.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be attached to your arm, or an arterial line will be started. Either way, your blood pressure will be monitored throughout the process.
  • ECG electrodes are placed on your chest and attached to an ECG machine.
  • You will start by lying flat on the bed, then you will be raised to an almost standing angle while strapped to the bed to prevent falling or slipping in case of fainting.
  • You will remain upright for ~45 minutes to determine any symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, low heart rate, or low blood pressure.
  • Once your doctor has obtained the information needed, you will be lowered to a flat position, and allowed to rest for a few minutes before you may leave.

In certain situations, you may be given a medicine in your IV to speed up your heart rate. This will typically happen if no symptoms occur, but you have stated that you have prior symptoms such as syncope.

What Happens After a Tilt-Table Test?

Your doctor may ask you to sit in a recovery area for 30 to 60 minutes so that they may monitor your state. However, most people are able to drive home after the procedure. If you experienced any sort of loss of consciousness during the test, your doctor may keep you for further observation and testing.

Results from the test may be determined immediately or will be given to you a few days after the test.

For more information about tilt-table testing, call us at (201) 475-5050 or request an appointment online today!