Tilt Table Test

The tilt table test is a test in which the patient is positioned in a supine position and brought to a predetermined angle or angles from the horizontal position. Such positioning helps to determine the cause of any decrease in oxygen to the brain. Different types of drugs may also be used in the testing process. The purpose of the test is to help determine appropriate therapy for individuals with fainting (syncope) and presyncope of unexplained origin.

Previous studies have shown the effectiveness of the tilt table testing in establishing the diagnosis of neurocardiogenic syncope, and in dictating therapy in patients with syncope of unknown origin.

Preparation for your test:

In order for a patient to make informed decisions about any diagnostic test or procedure, there are important questions that need to be asked prior to the procedure. The information gained will be helpful for that patient in determining benefits, risks, and cost of the procedure, and alternatives. The patient should understand the purpose of the tilt table test, and the diagnosis that the physician is trying to confirm or rule out. If the tilt table test is positive, the patient should ask questions about the frequency of false-positive results for that particular tilt table procedure, and should inquire about the next step in treatment.

After the Tilt test:

After the procedure, the patient is asked to transfer from the supine position to a sitting position, and is observed for a short period of time. During this time and after several minutes in the sitting position, any symptoms of dizziness and vertigo are noted. When ready, the individual transfers from the sitting position to standing. After additional observation and taking of vital signs, the patient is allowed to go home.