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Dr Diana R Holdright
MD, FRCP, FESC, FACC, MBBS, DA, BSc

Consultant Cardiologist

Dr Diana Holdright
 
 

Cardiac Investigations - Autonomic Tests and Tilt Testing

The autonomic nervous system controls the automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate, gut motility, pupil size and sweating. Certain diseases may be associated with abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and neurally-mediated syncope.

There are a number of different ways of assessing the autonomic nervous system. One of the most common is the tilt test, whereby the patient lies on a table which is tilted head up to 60º for up to 45 minutes, during which changes in heart rate and blood pressure are recorded, and the effects of certain drugs can be determined. This seemingly unusual technique can detect abnormal responses in heart rate and blood pressure and help direct treatment. Other manoeuvres can also be undertaken to investigate matters further if a tilt test result is negative.

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Cardiac Investigations - Autonomic Tests and  Tilt Testing