A Tilt table test is done to determine the cause of unexplained fainting or loss of consciousness. It is a non-invasive test. The test involves moving from a lying to a standing position and monitoring your vital signs and symptoms. The test records your blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm when the table is tilted to different angles. The table is kept head up.
The test also helps to diagnose orthostatic hypotension. Orthostatic hypotension is when the blood pressure drops excessively when you stand up. This occurs due to a sudden dilation of the blood vessels in your legs that slows down the heart rate. This reflex may be caused due to anxiety, fatigue, or physical stress. When you have one of these conditions, your body does not adjust when you stand normally and you experience loss of consciousness or changes in your physical conditions when you are moved from a lying position to an upright position during a tilt test. The test also helps in distinguishing epilepsy from fainting.
Before the test
The doctors at CARE Hospitals are experienced and the best in their fields. The doctor will explain to you the entire procedure and details of the test. He will answer your questions and will ask you to fill out a consent form. The nurse will help you to prepare for the test.
You have to lie down on a tilt table. The table has a metal footboard and is attached to a motor. Your feet will rest against the footboard. Your body will be tightened to the table using soft Velcro straps, but you have to support your weight during the test.
The nurse will keep an IV in the vein of your arm or the back of your hand. The IV will be used to take any blood samples and give medicines during the test.
The nurse will also place a blood pressure cuff around one of your arms. It is used to monitor your blood pressure throughout the test.
Some electrodes are placed on your chest using sticky tapes which are connected to an electrocardiography monitor. This helps to record the electrical activity of your heart. It shows your heart rhythm and heart rate during the test.
During the test
The nurse will ask you to take a rest for 10-15 minutes. Then, you will lie still and your ECG and blood pressure will be recorded.
The nurse will also monitor your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and heart rate throughout the test and will record the readings on a computer.
The table is controlled and handled by a nurse. First, the table will be tilted to 30 degrees for 2-3 minutes, then 45 degrees for 2-3 minutes, and then 70 degrees up to 45 minutes. Your position will be upright during the entire test.
The nurse and a technician are always available during the test and they will make sure that you feel comfortable during the test.
You must stay still and quiet during the test so that accurate results can be obtained. You must avoid moving your legs when you are in a standing position. Avoid talking unless you are asked something and you should tell if you experience any symptoms during the test.
Some people do not experience any symptoms during the test but some people may experience some symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, palpitations, and blurring of vision. If you experience any symptoms, you must tell the available nurse. Your symptoms will be rated on a scale from 1 out of 10. The symptoms experienced during the test and the results obtained will help the doctor to make a diagnosis of your problem.
If at any stage you feel uncomfortable and want to stop the test, you must tell the available nurse or the technician to stop the test. But, if it is possible to continue the test safely you must continue the test to get the desired possible results.
After the test
When the test is finished the table is lowered to a flat position. You are asked to lie down on the table for 5 to 10 minutes so that you feel ok and your blood pressure, heart rhythm, and heart rate will be measured. Your ECG will also be recorded.
If that is the last test of the day and you do not need any further tests that involve the use of an IV then your IV will be removed else it will be kept in place for other tests.
Going back home
After the test, you cannot drive yourself. You must have a responsible person with you to drive you home. You cannot drive throughout the day after the test.
After completion of the test, the readings of the test will be sent to the doctor. The doctor will review the results of the test and will call you for a review. If there are any significant changes in your heart rhythm, blood pressure, or heart rate, or if you get fainted then your doctor will recommend a further course of action.
A positive tilt table test indicates that you are suffering from a problem that is producing an abnormal change in your heart rate, blood pressure, or heart rhythm.
A negative tilt table test indicates that there were no signs and symptoms of a problem that is producing an abnormal change in your heart rate, blood pressure, or heart rhythm.
CARE Hospitals have a team of well-qualified and highly experienced cardiologists who will review the results of your test and will give you the right advice and follow-up.
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