Royal Sussex County Hospital. Princes Royal Hospital. Hove Polyclinic. Sussex Universities

The Tilt Table Test

What is a tilt table test?
A tilt table test lets us monitor your blood pressures and heart rate when you are lying down and standing up which is normally done as an out-patient appointment. You will be advised whether you need to stop any of your tablets prior to your test. You will be asked to lie on a special tilting bed which can be slowly adjusted until you are in an almost upright positiion. During the test your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored.

How do I prepare for the test?
If your appointment is in the morning you are advised not to have any breakfast, only water. If your test is in the afternoon you are advised to have a light meal 2-3 hours before your appointment time. Please bring with you a list of tablets you are currently taking. Please do not wear make-up.

Why do I need a tilt table test?
You may have been experiencing symptoms such as loss of conciousness, fainting, dizziness, light-headedness, which may be due to a drop in blood pressure or heart rate. Normally your blood pressure and heart rate will change according to your body's needs, such as when you are sleeping or exercising. However at times they may not respond appropriately to your body's requirements and this may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure/heart rate. This reaction may produce loss of conciousness (syncope) or fainting, lightheadedness. Tilt testing is used to determine if you are having this type of reaction.

What is involved in a tilt table test?
You will be asked to change into a gown and lie down on the tilt table. Safety belts will be placed around your body to make you feel secure. The bed also has a footplate at the bottom to rest your feet on. Electrodes and leads will be attached to your chest in order to monitor your heart rate and rhythm. A small cuff to measure your blood pressure will also be placed around your arm or finger and you will feel the cuff inflate and deflate throughout the test. You will be asked to lie still and quiet during the test as talking can disturb the information being recorded. While you lie quietly on the table, recordings of your BP and heart rate will be taken, Once this is collected the table will then move slowly upwards and forwards until you are in an almost upright position, where you will remain for approximately 45 minutes. On completion of the test the table will be lowered until you are back in a lying position. You will be allowed to recover fully before standing up and getting dressed. If you have a negative test, it is common to report feeling tired but otherwise fine.



How long will the test take?
The length of time depends on when or if you experience a drop in your blood pressure or heart rate. Some people will demonstrate this within the first few minutes. Others may finish the complete test without any such reaction, this is a negative test. You can ask for the test to be stopped at any time. If you develop a a drop in blood pressure/heart rate associated with symptoms your test will be classed as positive.

Going home
It is recommended that you are accompanied by a friend or relative so they can drive you home after the test. Your results of your test will be reported to your consultant,