A tilt table test is a diagnostic test designed to evaluate fainting in patients who are susceptible to vasovagal syncope. When a patient tells a doctor about a fainting spell (syncope), the doctor considers a long list of causes of fainting spells and tries to determine which of those causes might be responsible. Sometimes, the diagnosis is evident from the patient's description of the fainting spell, or from the patient's physical examination. Laboratory tests such as blood tests and an electro-cardiogram (ECG) may also help the doctor determine the cause. More often, however, the doctor is left considering a few possibilities. The tilt table test is a commonly used test to help determine if a patient's fainting spell was caused by vasovagal syncope.
Please do not eat or drink after midnight before the procedure.
During the test
Please come to the EP lab on the day of your test. You will lie flat on a table, and an intravenous line will be placed into one of the veins in the arms. You will be connected to a machine that records your electrocardiogram (ECG) and to a machine that measures blood pressure using a cuff wrapped around your arm.
After a 15-minute period of rest, the table will tilt your head upward (the table includes a foot board for you to stand on). You will remain head-up at nearly a standing level for up to 60 minutes. There is a doctor and/or a nurse in the room at all times. If you begin to feel symptoms of any kind, let us know. If your heart rate or blood pressure drop significantly, or if you experience symptoms that are consistent with the onset of a fainting episode, we will stop the test and lower the table back to the horizontal position. Your heart rate and blood pressure will come back to baseline within a few seconds. Sometimes a medication called isoproterenol (which is like adrenaline) is infused during the tilt table test.
After the test is complete, your intravenous line will be removed. You will be allowed to leave after we verify that your vital signs are normal.