Tilt table test

A tilt table test is used to evaluate the cause of unexplained fainting (syncope). During a tilt table test, you lie on a table that moves from a horizontal to a vertical position. Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored throughout the tilt table test.

Your doctor may recommend a tilt table test if you've had repeated, unexplained episodes of fainting. A tilt table test may also be appropriate to investigate the cause of fainting if you've fainted only once, but another episode would put you at high risk of injury due to your work environment, medical history, age or other factors.

Doctors use a tilt table test to help diagnose the cause of fainting. During the test, your blood pressure and heart rate are monitored. You begin by lying flat on a table. Straps are put around your body to hold you in place. Then, the table is tilted to raise your body to a head-up position — simulating a change in position from lying down to standing up. This test allows doctors to evaluate your body's cardiovascular response to the change in position.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Your doctor may recommend a tilt table test if he or she suspects that neurocardiogenic syncope is responsible for your fainting and needs additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Neurocardiogenic syncope happens when the part of your nervous system that controls blood flow changes your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure for a short time. Then, less blood flows to your brain and you may faint. This kind of syncope is also called vasovagal syncope, reflex syncope, and the common faint.

With neurocardiogenic syncope, you may or may not have warning signs, such as skin paleness, weakness, sweating, blurred vision or nausea. Neurocardiogenic syncope often is a response to something like the sight of blood or an upsetting situation. But it can happen with no clear trigger. This kind of syncope happens when you are standing or sitting.

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