The tilt table test is designed to induce or bring on syncope under controlled conditions, like different body positions, so that the doctors can see how your body responds to these changes and better diagnose the patient.

Syncope is a sudden and brief loss of consciousness, otherwise known as a fainting spell. This condition occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood flow. The most common type of fainting spell is called "vasovagal syncope." Vasovagal syncope occurs when a malfunction in the nerves causes the heart to slow down and the blood pressure to drop. This results in the patient losing consciousness. Some form of heart disease normally causes syncope and the tilt table test helps to determine this.

How it Works

The tilt table test begins by having the patient's body moved into the upright position. This causes blood to collect in the lower part of the body, primarily the legs. As a result, less blood returns to the heart, making less blood available for the heart to pump and causing the patient's blood pressure to drop.

Normally if a person did not suffer from syncope then the nerves that control the functions of the heart and blood vessels would maintain a normal blood pressure level by increasing the heart rate and tightening the blood vessels. Because the patient is hooked up to ECG electrodes, the doctor can monitor their heart rhythm to see what exactly causes this condition. The tilt table test basically enables the doctor to give an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that is right for the patient.