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    Tilt Table Test

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    What is a Tilt Table Test?

    A tilt table test is a non-invasive test (no surgery or cutting skin). The test takes one and a half (1½) hours. Your doctor wants you have this test to find out more about your lightheadedness or fainting.

    During the test, you are secured in place on a table, which is tilted to an almost standing position (about 60 degrees). The doctor can see how your heart responds to the change in position and the need to pump blood and oxygen to the brain.

    Note: If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor. You may not be able to have this test.
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    Before the Test

    • DO NOT eat or drink 6 hours before the test except for plain drinking water: You may drink water anytime.


    • No food or drink with caffeine for 24 hours before the test: No coffee, tea, sodas with caffeine, or chocolate.


    • You receive a confirmation letter by mail that tells you how to prepare for this test.


    • Please bring the requisition form signed by your doctor to your appointment or we may not be able to do your test.


    • About your medicines: Ask your doctor which of your regular medicines to take or stop before the test.


    • You are asked to undress from the waist up and wear a short gown for privacy and comfort.

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    During the Test

    1. First, electrodes are placed on your chest. A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your arm. An intravenous line (a small plastic tube in a vein) is placed in your arm/hand.


    2. You are secured to the table for safety.


    3. The table is tilted in an almost standing position (about 60°). Your blood pressure and EKG are monitored and you are watched for up to 45 minutes.


    4. The test stops if you have symptoms (like fainting) or an abnormal response of your blood pressure or EKG.


    5. If the first 45 minutes of the test are normal, you are given a medicine called Nitroglycerin to put under your tongue. The table is tilted down to a lying position for one minute and tilted back up to a standing position (60°) for 19 more minutes. The test stops if you have symptoms like fainting.

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    After the Test

    • You can return to your normal diet. It is good to eat and drink fluids after the test.


    • Return to your normal activities (for example, you may return to work).


    • Most people can drive themselves home after the test. Note: if your test results are abnormal, you may need someone to drive you home.


    • If your test results are abnormal, a doctor or nurse tells you how to care for yourself.


    • A cardiologist reviews the test results and gives the final report to your doctor.

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    More Ways to Learn

    Visit the American Heart AssociationOpens new window Web site.


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    Frequently Asked Questions


    Question: How long does the test take?
    Answer: Plan to stay at least 1½ hours for the test.

    Question: Can I drive home after a Tilt Table Test?
    Answer: Most people can drive themselves home after the test. If your test results are abnormal, you may need someone to drive you home.

    Question: Can I return to work after a Tilt Table Test?
    Answer: You may return to work after your test, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.




    Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the Department of Non-Invasive Cardiology at California Pacific Medical Center. Date: 8/07


    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

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