What you need to know about:

The Tilt Table Test

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Recovery Period:
A few hours
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Overview of

The Tilt Table Test

in Thailand

A tilt table test is a test done to evaluate symptoms of syncope (fainting). If you have syncope, your healthcare provider will carefully evaluate your past medical history and do a physical exam. If the results of the exam or history do not show a cause for the syncope, and you have no history of heart disease, then further test may be scheduled.  A tilt table test attempts to determine the cause syncope by creating changes in posture from lying to standing. You will lie flat on a special bed or table with special safety belts and a footrest while connected to electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure monitors. The bed or table is then elevated to an almost standing position (60° to 80° vertical angle) to simulate standing up from a lying position. The blood pressure and ECG are measured during the test to evaluate changes during the position changes. If the test causes you to faint, the table will quickly be returned to a flat position to help you regain consciousness. The information collected can then be used to help your healthcare provider prescribe treatment.

Goals of

The Tilt Table 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. Your nervous system controls your heart rate and blood pressure. It may suddenly lower your heart rate and blood pressure for a short time when you're moved to an upright position during the tilt table test. As a result, less blood flows to your brain, possibly causing you to faint.

Price of

The Tilt Table Test

Average Cost

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Pros and cons of

The Tilt Table Test

Pros

-Can help the doctor find out what is causing your syncope episodes  

Cons

-The main limitation of the test is that it does not provide a diagnosis, but rather information that is used along with your medical history to help your doctors determine that a diagnosis is more likely or less likely.  

-You may experience dizziness and possibly fainting during the procedure

How It Works:

The Tilt Table Test

A member of the healthcare team will briefly check the patient’s medical history, focusing on current symptoms and a family history of heart disease. The patient will lie flat on a special table-bed with a footrest and safety belts placed around the body. From there, the nurse will start an IV (intravenous) line, so that the patient may be given fluids and medications during the procedure. A nurse will place electrode patches on the patient’s chest. These are connected by wires to an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor to monitor the patient’s heart rate. The doctor will observe the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and other symptoms throughout the examination. With the safety belts placed around the patient’s body for safety and support, the bed is then moved to a vertical position 1-2 times during the examination. During initial testing, the doctor will not administer any medication. If the results are normal, the doctor may then administer an adrenaline-like medication or nitroglycerin sublingual spray to speed up the heart rate and then repeat the tilt test. If the patient experiences any symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, or fatigue, they must notify the doctor immediately. If the patient faints at any time during the test, the doctor will return the table to a horizontal position and will monitor symptoms closely. Most patients regain consciousness almost immediately.

Preparation before

The Tilt Table Test

Pre - treatment

If the tilt table test is scheduled for before 14:00 hrs., the patient must not consume food or drinks after 24:00 hrs., the night before the test. If the tilt table test is scheduled for after 14:00 hrs., the patient must not consume food or drinks after 8:00 hrs. on the day of the test. If the patient must take medications in the morning, it is advised that they do so only with a small sip of water.

Recovery after

The Tilt Table Test

Post - treatment

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. In some cases, if blood pressure and heart rate changes indicate you are about to faint, the table is returned to a horizontal position so that you don't lose consciousness. When the test is complete, you can return to your normal activities.

Risks & side effects

A tilt table test can induce dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness. It is done under monitored conditions and therefore, these risks, while not uncommon outcomes of the test, can be managed safely.  If you have a serious heart condition or severely low blood pressure, you should not have a tilt table test. Not only will these conditions predispose you to a high chance of fainting, there is little chance that the test could provide your doctors with additional useful information if you already know that you have these conditions.

FAQs:

The Tilt Table Test

What is a syncope?

Syncope refers to passing out or fainting. It is a brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to your brain. This decrease can happen because of a sudden drop in your blood pressure or heart rate or changes in the amount or movement of blood in your body. You may be confused for a bit after you become conscious again. Syncope is often related to another medical condition that may involve your heart, nervous system or blood flow to the brain.

Why do I need a tilt test performed on me?

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.  Your nervous system controls your heart rate and blood pressure. It may suddenly lower your heart rate and blood pressure for a short time when you're moved to an upright position during the tilt table test. As a result, less blood flows to your brain, possibly causing you to faint.

What kinds of results will I get from the test?

The results of a tilt table test are based on whether you faint during the test and what happens to your blood pressure and heart rate. The result is positive if your blood pressure decreases and you feel dizziness or faint during the test. The result is negative if your heart rate increases only slightly, your blood pressure doesn't drop significantly, and you don't have signs or symptoms of fainting. Depending on the results, your doctor might recommend additional tests to exclude other causes of fainting.

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