Tilt Table Test: What to Expect

This test involves lying on a special table that has a footboard, with straps that are placed around your body to hold it secure. Electrodes are attached to your chest, legs, and arms with a sticky backing. Wires run from the electrodes to the EKG machine to monitor your heart rate. A blood pressure monitor will be applied to your finger, arm, or both, to monitor your blood pressure during the test. An IV line may be placed into your arm to deliver medication in some cases. 

The test can then begin. You will first lie on your back, simply resting, for about five minutes. Then the table (and you) are moved into a vertical position. You will need to be as still as you can during the upright section of the test, and tell us if you are experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms. 

If, after about 45 minutes upright, you have not fainted, you may be administered medication intravenously to trigger the fainting reflex. After the medication, you will stay upright for another period of time. At any point in the test, if you begin to faint, the table is moved back to the horizontal position to help you avoid losing consciousness.

What Can a Tilt Test Detect?

The results of the test are based on whether you faint. If you do, your heart rate and blood pressure will be evaluated to help diagnose your condition. If your blood pressure plummets and you have symptoms such as feeling faint or dizzy, the results of the test are positive and indicate that your symptoms are associated with heart function. Should your heart rate not increase to any degree and no dramatic changes occur to your blood pressure, it indicates that heart rate and blood pressure are not the cause of the fainting, lightheadedness, or dizzy spell. The tilt table test may be just one of a series of tests performed to identify the cause of your symptoms.

Tilt Table Testing at San Diego Cardiac Center

Our specialists at San Diego Cardiac Center offer the highest level of expertise, covering the entire spectrum of advanced cardiac care and offering an array of diagnostic tests.

We are very progressive in adopting new therapies through our vast clinical research experience, and we often deliver newer, more successful procedures and therapies before they are available at any other heart clinic or hospital in the San Diego area and beyond.

Our team includes multiple doctors with subspecialties who deliver the highest quality care, including diagnostic testing, such as tilt table testing. Our cardiac center is equipped with cutting-edge technology, and we stay ahead of the curve in the latest developments in cardiac care and treatments.

Is a Tilt Table Test Scary or Difficult to Experience?

A tilt table test is a safe diagnostic test. You may feel intimidated about a test that is geared to trigger a fainting spell. The test is performed under close supervision, and your body is safely held in place during the test, so there is no risk to you. Should you begin to faint, you will quickly be moved back into the horizontal position. We will be monitoring you throughout the test, and you should feel free to communicate with us throughout the entire procedure – we are here to help.

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