Tilt table test

Tilt table test: Why is this test performed?

A tilt table test is a simple non – invasive procedure used to diagnose syncope (fainting). It reproduces the symptoms experienced by the patient under controlled conditions. By doing so, the doctor identifies why you keep getting dizzy spells or completely blacks out.  

How is the Tilt table test performed?

Tilt table test

Electrodes will be attached to the patient’s chest to monitor the heart rate via the electrocardiogram (ECG). What is ECG, and how is it performed?

It will also measure the patient’s blood pressure, and you are asked to lie down on a special table that tilts. (Image credit)

Straps will be placed across the patient’s chest, abdomen, and knees to prevent a patient from falling if they faint during the test. In the first part of the test, the nurse tilts the table so that the head is slightly higher (30 degrees) than the rest of the body.

The patient’s blood pressure and heart rate are then checked. After this, the table is tilted more to ensure that the patient lies 60 degrees or more for around 45 minutes. The nurse measures the heart rate and blood pressure continuously during this period.

If the blood pressure drops, the nurse stops the test immediately; else, the table is lowered to start the second part of the test. An IV (intravenous) line is put to the patient’s arm, and a medicine (isoproterenol) is administered. This medicine increases the heart rate and makes the patient more sensitive to the test.

The table is then tilted upwards to a 60 degrees angle, and the patient is monitored for symptoms of dizziness, fainting, or low blood pressure. The test is stopped, and the table is lowered to a flat position if the blood pressure drops. If it remains stable, the test ends in around 15 minutes, after which the table is lowered.

The patient’s blood pressure is monitored throughout this time, and all the necessary information is collected.

Are there any risks involved in the Tilt table test?

The possible complications associated with this test are planned episodes of syncope, dizziness, headache, low blood pressure, nausea, and palpitations.


What are preparations required from the patient? The patient must fast and avoid smoking for 2 hours before the test. He/she must notify the doctor about the medicines they are taking for any heart conditions. after the examination, ensure to arrange a ride home or ask someone to accompany you.

How long does it take? It takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete both parts of the test.  

Who performs the Tilt table test? A nurse and a technician with specialized training perform it under the supervision of a cardiac electrophysiologist.

How much does it cost? It costs around Rs. 2500 to get the test done.

When can I go home after the procedure? The patient is generally allowed to go home and resume normal activities after the Tilt table test. Sometimes, he/she may be asked to stay in the recovery area for 30 to 60 minutes to monitor the blood pressure and then leave the hospital. 


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