The idea of knowing you’re going to have one of these can be pretty scary! You don’t know how this may effect you symptom wise, and no one likes being forced to be at their sickest. So I’m doing a quick run down of my tilt table test experience so you have a little idea of what to expect. Different hospitals do it all a little differently, but it’s all basically the same, and looking for the same ending result. If you’re reading this, and your experience has been different, please post what was different below so readers will have more of an idea! Also, when on the tilt, people’s bodies react differently, this was strictly what happened to me.
To prepare, I was told not to eat or drink anything 12 hours before the test.
I was brought in and laid on a regular hospital bed. I was given two IV’s. One, to draw blood from, which they do once I’ve been there lying for a while, and the second one is to inject you with an adrenalin boost to get your symptoms going, if they don’t on their own when your doing the test.
They wheel me into this other room that’s pretty big and all these interns are running around. It seems a little uncomfortable at first, but they are more interested in what comes up on the computer, than what you yourself is acting like. Just ignore them.
You’ll be moved over to this big gray metal bed, but your bedding goes with you, and is a lot more comfortable then it looks. They put the electrodes on you and the blood pressure monitor, so they can watch your blood pressure and heart rate. The machine was to my left, so I was able to watch it too.
I had little straps that looked like small car seat belts brought across my thighs and upper chest. There’s a little give, but tight enough so that if you do end up fainting, you won’t fall and hurt yourself. I was still able to move a little bit behind them, so it didn’t feel constricting.
Then they slowly raise you up so you are in standing position. I did not need the adrenalin boost in the IV because mine soared from the moment I was placed upward. I was in no pain, but I became very emotional quickly which is very common when your adrenalin goes high on its own. I got a little teary eyed at first, and then after a couple minutes I was back to normal.
I became very weak and dizzy, but never fainted on the tilt table. I felt very out of sorts, the way we do if we are standing normally, but I found personally, because I had the table behind me, I didn’t feel as bad as I could have, because I had something holding me up instead of my just free standing like usual.
Once I had been up about 30 minutes, they took more blood work out of the first IV. I have a problem with doctors getting a vein let alone a lot of blood coming into the vials… but with my blood pooling from the test, the blood work went great for once. Now I have a new trick if the doctor’s are having a problem with getting it. Just stand up!
After about forty five minutes I was slowly laid back down into a laying position. The straps were removed, and I was moved back onto my hospital bed, and rolled back into the other room where I had to rest for a half hour. At the hospital I went to, they do this because if you had the adrenalin boost, they want to make sure you are recovering from it okay. Since I didn’t have it, I didn’t have to wait as long.
A doctor comes in, and tells you the results. Usually an intern, and then the Cardiologist will come in and tell you if your have POTS, and to drink lots of water, get up slowly, and eat more salt. Usually you will get a prescription then too if you are diagnosed. And then I was sent home!
Like I said, little things are done differently in different hospitals, and depending on how your body reacts on the tilt table. Some doctors try to keep you there until you faint, some will bring you up and down continuously on the table to try to worsen symptoms.
If you have any questions, or any variations to the tilt table test you received, please post below!