Tilt Table Testing

Tilt testing is a simple test that helps the doctor pinpoint the cause of your fainting. It checks how changes in body position affect your blood pressure. To do this, you are placed on a table that is tilted upward. The test tries to recreate fainting symptoms while your blood pressure and heart rate are monitored. It’s also used to rule out other forms of heart disease.

Before Your Test

For best results, prepare for the test as directed. Keep in mind:

  • When you schedule the test, be sure to mention all the medications you take. Ask if you should stop taking any of them the day of the test.
  • A few days ahead, arrange for a ride home after the test.
  • After midnight of the night before the test, don’t eat or drink anything.
  • On the day of the test, dress for ease and comfort. Wear a two-piece outfit, top and bottoms. You will need to undress from the waist up and put on a short hospital gown.

During Your Test

The tilt table test takes about 60 minutes. The testing room is kept quiet and dimly lit. During the test:

  • Small pads (electrodes) will be placed on your chest to monitor your heartbeat.
  • A blood pressure cuff is put on your arm.
  • An intravenous (IV) line may be placed in your other arm. The IV line delivers fluids.
  • You’ll be asked to lie flat on the table. Your upper body and thighs will be held in place with straps.
  • The table tilts until you are almost standing upright.
  • You’ll remain upright for up to 60 minutes. In most cases, the test is over in 30–45 minutes.
  • Occasionally, people are given certain medications and retested. These medications may make you feel shaky.

After Your Test

  • Any medications used during the test should leave your system within 15 minutes.
  • If you were told to skip daily medications before the test, ask if you should start taking them again.
  • You’re likely to be sent home right away.
  • If you fainted during the test, you may want to rest for a few hours once you’re home.
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