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Head Up Tilt Test (HUTT)

What is a Head Up Tilt Table Test? Tilt table testing is used to determine a cause of fainting or loss of consciousness. This condition is called syncope. The Tilt Table Test checks how changes in body position can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. The goal is to try to recreate fainting symptoms. The table tilts you upright for a period of time and shows whether prolonged standing caused your symptoms. 

Special considerations before your procedure:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to your test.  
  • Take all your medications as prescribed with only small sips of water.
  • If you have diabetes, ask your physician for specific instructions on taking your medications.
  • Bring all your medications with you in their original containers. This includes over-the-counter and herbal medicines.
  • You may want a friend or family member to drive you home.

What should I expect when I arrive?

  • You will check in with the receptionist at the Hanson Heart Center within Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph and be asked to fill out paperwork.
  • The nurse will take you to the prep area to review your health history and answer your questions.
  • In the prep area you will sign consents, change into a gown, and have two IVs started. The IVs will allow us to give you fluids and medications as needed. You will also be given an IV antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • You should plan to be in the Heart Center for at least two hours.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. You will need to undress from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. 
  • You will be connected to equipment that will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure throughout the test.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will be asked to lie flat on the table. Your upper body and thighs will be supported with straps. 
  • The table tilts until you are almost standing upright.
  • You will remain upright for up to an hour.
  • If after 30 minutes you have not experienced any signs or symptoms of fainting, you will be placed flat and your doctor may give you a medication under your tongue called Nitroglycerin. This may make you feel nervous or jittery, and sometimes causes a headache. This feeling will go away as the medication wears off. 
  • After medication is given you will be placed in an upright position again for 20 minutes while your heart and blood pressure continue to be monitored.
  • You may or may not experience symptoms.
  • If you faint during the test, the table will be returned to a flat position and you will continue to be monitored closely while you recover. Recovery is usually immediate.

Report any of these symptoms during the test:

  • A rapid heart beat (palpitations)
  • Dimmed vision
  • Nausea
  • Overall weakness
  • Sweating or feeling lightheaded 
  • Other unusual symptoms

What happens after the procedure?

  • You will most likely be sent home right away. 
  • The results will help the physician in planning treatment and future tests.