(Upright Tilt Testing)
A tilt table procedure is a diagnostic procedure that may be used to evaluate a person who has symptoms of syncope (fainting). When a person has a complaint of syncope, the doctor will carefully evaluate the person's past medical history and perform a physical examination. If basic components of the examination or history do not reveal a potential cause for the syncope, and the person has no history of heart disease, then further diagnostic procedures may be scheduled.
Syncope, or fainting, may be caused by various medical problems. Syncope may occur rarely to frequently, depending on the cause. Some causes of syncope may include, but are not limited to, the following:
One type of diagnostic procedure that may be used to assess syncope is the tilt table procedure. This procedure attempts to cause syncope by creating changes in posture from lying to standing. This test is performed by having the patient lie flat on a special bed or table with 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 degree vertical angle) to simulate the patient 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 an episode of syncope, then the cause of the syncope is vasovagal syndrome. The doctor can then prescribe specific treatment for the syncope once the cause is known.
Other related procedures that may be used to assess the heart include resting or exercise electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitor, cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest, echocardiography, electrophysiological studies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart, myocardial perfusion scans, radionuclide angiography, signal-averaged electrocardiogram, and cardiac CT scan. Please see these procedures for additional information.
A doctor may order a tilt table procedure if recurring episodes of syncope (fainting) occur that have had certain other causes ruled out by other tests.
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a tilt table procedure.
Possible risks of tilt table testing include, but are not limited to, the following:
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.
A tilt table procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices.
Generally, a tilt table procedure follows this process:
You should be able to resume your normal diet and activities, unless your doctor instructs you differently.
Generally, there is no special care following a tilt table procedure.
Notify your doctor if you develop any signs or symptoms you had prior to the test (such as, dizziness or fainting).
Your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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