TILT TABLE TEST
What is a tilt table test?
A tilt table test is used to find out why a patient has been having dizzy spells or fainting / passing out. The upright tilt testing aims to reproduce these symptoms under controlled, safe and monitored conditions. This is to help a cardiologist make a diagnosis.
This is a non-invasive test which is performed in our 1 stop Cardiology Clinic in Central London. A Cardiac Physiologist will ask you to lie on a tilt table, which looks like a normal examination couch, except that it has a foot rest at one end. It also has two safety straps that fit around your upper body and just above your knees to keep you safe throughout the tilting test.
After the first five minutes where you will lay flat, the head of the tilt table will then be tilted up to a 60 degree angle. This means that you will now be standing almost upright. You will then remain in the standing position until the end of the specific cardiac test.
The Physiologist and the Doctor (your cardiologist) will stay with you the whole time. While you are having the test, we will continually measure your heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. It is important for you to tell us during the test if you do have any symptoms such as lightheadedness and if they are familiar or not.
Please continue reading for more information about how to prepare for your tilt table test.
• If you have poor circulation / cold fingers, try to keep your hands warm before the test. For example, by wearing gloves.
• Make sure you bring a list of your prescribed medications.
What do I need to do before the tilt table test?
Please arrange for a family member or friend to drop you off at the hospital and take you home after the test. Tell us as soon as you can if you use a wheelchair, are unable to stand, or have had a recent operation. Also tell us if you have any of the following conditions:
• hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
(thickening of the heart muscle)
• blocked arteries
• heart, kidney or liver failure
• cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke.
Why do I need a tilt test?
If you have been having dizzy spells or fainting / passing out, your doctor may refer you for a tilt test. Your doctor may think that your symptoms are related to a change in your blood pressure or heart rate.
What does a tilt test procedure involve?
• A cardiac physiologist and a heart specialist carry out the test. It takes place in a dark, quiet environment. For this reason, family and friends cannot be present during the test.
• The Doctor will go through your medical history. They will then ask you to undress to the waist and place 10 small sticky pads called electrodes on your chest.
• These are attached with wires to an ECG machine (electrocardiogram), which monitors your heart rate.
• You will be given a gown to wear, which goes over the top of the electrodes.
• A blood pressure monitor will be attached to your finger.
• You will be asked to lay flat on a bed for five minutes, then the bed will be tilted until it is almost vertical.
• After 20 minutes, if you are still feeling well, you will be given a spray under your tongue. This may cause symptoms similar to those you have had (dizzy spells or fainting / passing out).
• The test continues for 15 minutes, or until you feel dizzy / faint and experience a fall in blood pressure / heart rate. The test will then be stopped.
• If you are aged over 40, a doctor may attend the test to give you a carotid sinus massage. This is a gentle rub on your neck to feel your pulse and to see if your heart is prone to slowing down. This may also make you feel dizzy / faint.
• If your heart slows down for a long time, the doctor may insert a fine needle into your arm to give a drug to speed up your heart to a normal rate.
• At the end of the test you can sit up and have a drink of water. The monitoring equipment will then be removed, and you can get dressed and go home.
How long does the upright tilting test last?
A tilt test takes between one and a half to two hours.
It consists of approximately:
• 30-45 minutes – preparation time
• five minutes – lying down
• 20 minutes – tilt (without drug)
• 15 minutes extra – tilt after drug has been given (if it is needed)
• five minutes – neck rub (if it is needed)
• 30 minutes – recovery time.
What do I need to do on the day of the upright tilt table test?
• Eat a light meal and have a drink of water exactly three hours before the test. Do not eat or drink again until the test has finished. It is important you arrive on time for the test.
If you are booked to come in for a Tilt Table Test and have any questions like:
is tilt table test accurate?
is tilt table test dangerous?
are tilt table test safe?
is tilt table test necessary?
is tilt table test invasive?
where are tilt table test performed?
what is tilt table test used for?
can tilt table test cause vertigo?
what can tilt table test diagnose?
does tilt table test work?
what does tilt table test show?
what does tilt table test diagnose?
why do tilt table testing?
how tilt table test work?
how to interpret tilt table test?
what if tilt table test is negative?
what if tilt table test is positive?
or would like further information on upright tilt testing please contact us on 0786 211 5571.
For Health & Safety reasons the test takes part at Ealing Hospital (Under Trust Plus).
For general questions in the field of cardiology, fill in the following form and a heart specialist, from our team of top cardiologists, will reply to you!