Tilt Table Study
The tilt table study is used to evaluate patients who have had syncope (loss of consciousness).
In a tilt table study, the patient is strapped to a table, which is then mechanically tilted to an upright position. While monitoring the pulse, blood pressure, electrocardiogram, and sometimes blood oxygen saturation, the patient is left in a “motionless standing position” for 20 to 30 minutes. When the patient's syncope is reproduced during the test, a "positive" tilt table study is said to have occurred.
During an upright tilt – or for that matter while standing – a person's cardiovascular system has to adjust itself in order to prevent a significant portion of the blood volume from pooling in the legs. These adjustments consist of a mild increase in heart rate, and a constriction of the blood vessels in the legs. When a normal individual is placed in an upright tilt, these cardiovascular adjustments occur very quickly, and there is no significant drop in the blood pressure.