Center for Heart & Vascular Health

Tilt-Table Test

A tilt-table test shows how your heart rate and blood pressure respond to standing for a long period of time. The test can help find out why you have passed out or have been lightheaded, dizzy or nauseated.

Preparing for a tilt-table test

  • If your test is scheduled before noon, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. You may take your medications with a small sip of water. If your test is scheduled after 11 a.m., you may have a clear liquid breakfast before 8 a.m. on the day of your test.
  • An IV will be started for this procedure.

Before the test

  • An IV will be put into your arm.
  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart rate.
  • A cuff will be put on your arm to check your blood pressure.
  • You will lie on a special tilt table that has safety straps to hold you in place.

During the test

  • A baseline heart rate and blood-pressure recording will be done for 15 minutes. Next, the table will be tilted to a near upright position. This change in position usually causes a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, which the nurse will record. Time spent in the lying and upright positions can vary from 5 to 30 minutes.
  • If there is no change in your heart rate or blood pressure when placed upright, you will be given medicine through your IV or by mouth to increase your heart rate. The nurse will watch your heart rate and blood pressure for 20-30 minutes afterward.
  • If you feel faint, dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated, please tell the nurse who is monitoring your test.

After the test

  • You will be placed in the lying position. A nurse will check your blood pressure and heart rate, and remove your IV. You will stay for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • The doctor will talk with you about the test results. If your test is positive, you may be placed on medicine to control your symptoms. The test can be done again at a later date to check if the medicine is working.

To schedule an appointment, contact the location most convenient to you.