Are you experiencing frequent lightheadedness or fainting spells? Unsure what might be causing these issues? Then your cardiologist may recommend a tilt table test, sometimes known as a passive head-up tilt test (HUTT). This procedure is used to record both your blood pressure and heart rate each minute, while the patient is tilted on a table at varying levels.
A HUTT can be a great way to determine what is causing your symptoms. The results of the test help us evaluate your blood pressure and heart rhythm. It will also help us determine the best treatment plan for your symptoms, and can even help us decide whether you will require additional testing to help diagnose your condition.
What Happens During a HUTT Test?
The test usually takes about an hour and a half to complete, but your test may be shorter depending on your symptoms and the changes we see in your vitals. It’s not a bad idea to plan to be in our office for a couple of hours. While you can continue to take your prescription medication before the test, you should not eat or drink anything except a little water for about four hours before the test.
Before the test begins, we will usually place an IV into the arm to take blood samples to measure adrenaline. Whether blood samples need to be taken will depend on your medical history. We will also place a blood pressure cuff on both arms and small electrodes on your chest to measure the electrical activity of the heart.
During the test, you will lie on your back on a motorized table and your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be taken at baseline. You will rest for about 15 minutes and then we will begin the test. As mentioned earlier, both your heart rate and blood pressure will be measured and monitored throughout the entire test.
Next, the table will be tilted at different angles, always in a position in which you are upright (you will never be upside-down). We will also check in with you throughout to see how you are feeling and if you are experiencing any symptoms. The goal of the test is to not cause you to faint, though this may happen depending on how you respond to the test. We will continue to monitor your vital signs for about 10 minutes after the test, and you will stay in our lab until any symptoms have resolved.
Experiencing bouts of dizziness or fainting? Questions about HUTT? Call our office today (703) 492-6822.