What is the Tilt Table Test (TTT)?
The diagnostic test for POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) is the tilt table test (TTT). I know, that’s a lot of acronyms — welcome to the medical field. Essentially, the goal of this test is to measure how your body reacts to going from a lying down position to an upright position. Some conditions can emulate the symptoms of POTS, without the direct correlation to position. To get a clearer picture of what’s going on, the test has you lay on a table that then tips up (as if you were standing up) while monitoring all kinds of variables. In order to be qualified as POTS, a person’s heart rate has to go up by at least 30 beats per minute, and the accompanying symptoms of typical episodes must be present once in the upright position.
Why the Tilt Table Test?
In the early weeks of dealing with my newly escalated symptoms, I did a lot of research. Ill-advised, I am aware, but I was just so fascinated by the symptoms, the potential mechanisms behind them, and what others have experienced. There were a handful of things I considered plausible causes, but the main one that stuck out was POTS. I learned about the tilt table test, but I also learned that you can do the “poor man’s tilt table test” at home, where you lay down until you’re at a good resting heart rate, and then you stand up. With a pulse oximeter, you watch your heart rate, and see what happens. I couldn’t resist the temptation to give it a whirl, so I did (I have attached the actual video at the bottom of this post). My resting heart rate was 77, and after a few seconds upright, my high was 127. That is an increase of 50 bpm (and again, 30 bpm is the typical diagnostic threshold). After about a minute of heart rate