Tilt Testing


What is a Tilt Table Test?

A tilt test may be advised for some people who have had recurrent syncope. This test shows how your heart rate and blood pressure respond to a change in position from lying down to standing up.

  • You will be asked to lie flat on the test table
  • An intravenous cannula (a small plastic tube in a vein) will be inserted in your arm in case medications need to be given during the test
  • A blood pressure cuff and ECG monitoring will be applied
  • The table is then tilted to 60 degrees to simulate a change in position from lying to standing
  • Medication may be given under your tongue if necessary
  • If you fell unwell during the test, please tell the doctor immediately 


This is a commonly performed test to investigate causes of recurrent syncope. Most people undergoing this test do not experience any complications. However, the possible risks include:

  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chest Pain
  • Death (extremely rare)
  • Glyceryl trinitrate may be administered to improve the yield of this test. If the doctor should administer this medication during the test, its side effects include:
    • Headache
    • Facial flushing
    • Sweating
    • Palpitations
    • Low blood pressure

  • Professor Sanders says...

    Atrial fibrillation is a consequence of several reversible risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnoea, and excessive alcohol. Your management of atrial fibrillation must include strict control of these risk factors.