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Tilt Table Test

A tilt table test is performed to determine if the cause of fainting spells is due to neurocardiac syncope, a condition that can cause the loss of consciousness due to a drop in the heart rate or blood pressure. During this test, you are securely strapped onto a table that is moved from a reclining position to a heads-up, 60-degree angle. The purpose of these changing positions is to see if a loss of consciousness can be induced under a medically-supervised, controlled situation.

How to Prepare for a Tilt Table Test

Fasting Requirements:

You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your procedure.

Medication Considerations:

If you are taking prescription medications, you should discuss with your physician whether you should continue to take your medications on the day of your procedure. If you are diabetic, it is important for you to discuss with your physician how to adjust insulin and food intake prior to your procedure.

Transportation upon Discharge:

Just in case you feel lightheaded after the test, you must have someone with you to drive you home. 

What to Expect During a Tilt Table Test

  • An intravenous (IV) tube will be placed into a vein in your arm for the injection of medications.
  • Your heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure will be continuously monitored.
  • Several electrodes will be placed on your chest. To ensure good electrode contact with your skin, the area will be cleansed with alcohol and a special pad to remove skin oils and dry skin. These electrodes are connected to an electrocardiograph, the machine that records the heart's electrical activity.
  • The table will be tilted upright to approximately an 60-degree angle for about 30 minutes, then returned to a flat position.
  • You may be given medication that increases your heart rate, and then you will be tilted upright for another 15 minutes.
  • The estimated time that it takes for a tilt table test is 60 to 90 minutes.

What to Expect During Recovery from a Tilt Table Test

You can expect an immediate recovery from this test, although you should arrange for someone to drive you home, just in case you feel lightheaded.

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