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Fainting investigation (Tilt test)

Summary

Fainting investigation (Tilt test)

A tilt test is used to diagnose a condition called vasovagal syncope or neurocardiogenic syncope, also known as common faints. The test reproduces your symptoms of dizziness or fainting under controlled and monitored conditions to help the cardiologist to make a diagnosis. Ten small sticky pads (electrodes) will be positioned on the patient's chest. Wires are then clipped onto these electrodes and connected to a monitoring machine (ECG); this will monitor your heart rhythm. You will be asked to lie down and be attached to a blood pressure monitor via a cuff. The bed will then be tilted upwards until you are almost vertical. If, after 20 minutes, you are still feeling well, you will be given one spray under the tongue of a drug that may cause symptoms similar to those you have experienced (dizzy, faint). The test is continued in this position for a further 15 minutes or until you feel dizzy/faint, along with a fall in blood pressure or heart rate, at which point the test will be stopped. If you are over 40, a doctor will rub on your neck after the tilt test. This is known as ‘carotid sinus massage’ and is done to see if your heart is prone to slowing down and, if so, you may feel dizzy or faint. At the end of your test you will be offered a drink and if no further problems are experienced , the patient is well enough to go home.

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