STARS Patient Information
What is a Tilt Test?
A tilt test allows the doctor to monitor your blood pressure and heart rhythm when you are lying down and standing up. The test will normally be done as an outpatient appointment. Your doctor will advise you whether you need to stop any of your tablets prior to your test. You may be advised not to eat or to only have a light meal before your test.
Why might I need a Tilt Test?
You may have been experiencing symptoms such as loss of consciousness (blackouts/fainting episodes), dizziness or severe light headedness, which may be due to a drop in your blood pressure or heart rate. Normally your blood pressure and heart rate will change according to your body's needs, such as when you are sleeping or exercising. However at times they may not respond appropriately to your body's requirements and this may cause a sudden drop in your blood pressure/heart rate. This reaction may produce loss of consciousness (syncope) or a number of symptoms including dizziness or severe light headedness (pre-syncope). Tilt testing is used to determine if you are having this type of reaction.
The tilt test is painless and is used to help identify symptoms and reach a diagnosis. You can read more about tilt tests in our information sheet.
It is suggested that make-up is removed so that the health care professional can witness the pallor of your skin should the tilt test induce a drop in your blood pressure or heart rate.
How will I feel during the test?
Diagram of Tilt Test
The symptoms that you may experience during the test include light headedness, nausea, a cold and clammy feeling, sweating, a "spacey" feeling, or a feeling as if you are about to faint/blackout. If you do lose consciousness this normally only lasts for a short period of time and the bed is lowered whilst you recover.
You can ask for the test to be stopped at any time.
Some people develop symptoms even though their blood pressure remains normal. While this would be considered a negative test, this would be reported to your Doctor.
What if my test is positive?
If you develop a drop in blood pressure/heart rate associated with symptoms your test will be classed as positive.
The results of your test will be reported to your consultant. An appointment will then be made for you to return to discuss the results of the test and any treatment options that may be needed.
How will I feel after the test?
If your test is positive you may experience all the usual sensations you experience during a natural episode.
You will be allowed to fully recover before standing up and getting dressed.
If you have a negative test, it is common to report feeling tired but otherwise fine.
It is recommended that you are accompanied by a friend/relative so they can drive you home after the test. You may also wish to bring a change of clothes as some people may very occasionally experience loss of bladder control during the test.