The tilt table test helps doctors diagnose the cause of unexplained syncope (fainting) and determine the most appropriate treatment.
What to Expect During the Tilt Table Test Procedure (Total Duration: 60 minutes)
- A member of the healthcare team will briefly check the patient’s medical history, focusing on current symptoms and a family history of heart disease.
- The patient will lie flat on a special table-bed with a footrest and safety belts placed around the body. From there, the nurse will start an IV (intravenous) line, so that the patient may be given fluids and medications during the procedure.
- A nurse will place electrode patches on the patient’s chest. These are connected by wires to an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor to monitor the patient’s heart rate.
- The doctor will observe the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and other symptoms throughout the examination.
- With the safety belts placed around the patient’s body for safety and support, the bed is then moved to a vertical position 1-2 times during the examination.
- During initial testing, the doctor will not administer any medication. If the results are normal, the doctor may then administer an adrenaline-like medication or nitroglycerin sublingual spray to speed up the heart rate and then repeat the tilt test.
- If the patient experiences any symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, or fatigue, they must notify the doctor immediately.
- If the patient faints at any time during the test, the doctor will return the table to a horizontal position and will monitor symptoms closely. Most patients regain consciousness almost immediately.
Possible Risks and Complications
- Prolonged low blood pressure
- Cardiac arrest or prolonged pause between heartbeats
- Allergic reaction to medication
How to Prepare for the Tilt Table Test
- If the tilt table test is scheduled for before 14:00 hrs., the patient must not consume food or drinks after 24:00 hrs., the night before the test.
- If the tilt table test is scheduled for after 14:00 hrs., the patient must not consume food or drinks after 8:00 hrs. on the day of the test.
- If the patient must take medications in the morning, it is advised that they do so only with a small sip of water.
Heart (Cardiology) Center
Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) Building, 14th
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand