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Before the Test
Before you start the tilt table test, a member of your healthcare team will get you ready for the test by doing the following:
- Place electrodes (sticky patches) on your chest, legs, and arms. The electrodes are connected by wires to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine that monitors your heart rate.
- Place a blood pressure monitor or cuff on your finger, your arm, or both to check your blood pressure during the tilt table test
- An intravenous (IV) line will be placed into a vein in your arm for delivering medication and IV fluids during the test.
During the Test
For the test, you’ll lie down on a table that can be moved from a horizontal to a vertical position, and has a footrest and safety belts. The belts are placed around your body during the test to help ensure that you don't slip off the table. Once you're positioned on the table, the test progresses this way:
- Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored for about five minutes while you're lying flat.
- We might consider pressing on your neck at the level of carotid arteries while supine and after tilting.
- The bed is then moved to a vertical position (about a 60- to 70-degree angle) so that your head is up.
- Depending on your age and the reason for the test, you may either be administered a medication called adenosine, that acts for only a few seconds, in an effort to reproduce the neural reaction, with observation for symptoms over the next 3 minutes or simply stay in the vertical position for up to 30 minutes.
- During the test, if you feel any symptoms that you have previously experienced at the time of your fainting episode(s), tell a member of your healthcare team.
After the Test
- If you faint at any point during the test (which is the usually endpoint of the test) while you're in the vertical position, the table is returned to a horizontal position immediately, and you're monitored closely. All patients regain consciousness almost immediately.
- Sometimes, if your blood pressure and heart rate changes indicate you are about to faint, the table is returned to a horizontal position, and you may not actually lose consciousness.
- When your tilt table test is complete, you may return to your normal activities for the rest of the day.