What is Tilt Testing?
The tilt test measures how blood pressure and heart rate respond to changes in gravity depending on the body’s position.
Indications for Tilt Testing
The tilt test is usually performed to determine the cause of fainting spells or lightheadedness. The test tries to reproduce these symptoms while you are monitored in a controlled setting.
Preparation for Tilt Testing
- Do not eat or drink for 2 to 4 hours before the test.
- Notify your doctor about any history of cardiovascular conditions such as heart conditions, blocked arteries, or stroke.
- Take all medications as prescribed unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
- Wear comfortable clothes for the procedure.
Procedure for Tilt Testing
The tilt test is executed in a quiet room. During the test:
- You will lie flat on a special bed that can be tilted, and you will be securely strapped.
- Electrodes will be placed on your chest and connected to an ECG.
- A cuff is attached to your arm to monitor blood pressure.
- An IV line is started to administer any needed medications.
- The bed is slowly tilted to around 60 to 90 degrees, raising your body upright while heart rate and blood pressure are monitored.
- This will continue for 15 to 20 minutes and you may feel dizzy or faint.
- If you are still feeling well, your doctor may give you some medication to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure slightly in order to reproduce your symptoms during the test.
- The entire test can last 1 to 2 hours. If you are unable to tolerate the test, it can be stopped at any time.
Post-operative Care for Tilt Test
You may feel tired and a little nauseous after the test. After your blood pressure and heart rate become normal, most people can drive home and return to their normal activities.
If you have fainted during the test, you may need further observation and testing.
How are the Tilt Test Results Interpreted?
If your blood pressure remains stable during the procedure, the test is considered negative. Dizziness or fainting can occur if the blood pressure falls with tilting and the heart rate does not increase to compensate.