Tilt Table Evaluation

Doctors at Boston Children’s use tilt table evaluation to identify the cause of your child’s fainting. During a tilt table evaluation, your child lies flat on a special bed while connected to blood pressure and EKG monitors. The bed changes position from standing to lying flat to test for differences in reaction between the two.

What are some possible causes of fainting?

Repeated fainting can have various causes.

  • Vasovagal syndrome — a sudden drop in blood pressure caused by nerve dysfunction
  • Arrhythmia — heart rate that’s too fast, slow, or irregular to maintain adequate blood flow
  • Valve disease — malfunction of heart valves
  • Cardiomyopathy — chronic heart abnormality
  • Myocarditis — acute inflammation of the heart

How do I prepare my child for tilt table evaluation?

Please have your child come in with an empty stomach. She should not eat for at least eight hours before the test.

How will I get the results?

Your child’s results will be evaluated with a member from the cardiology department, or your child’s regular cardiologist. If the test does not cause a fainting episode and/or the EKG and blood pressure readings are normal, further tests may be necessary.

How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches tilt table evaluation

Causes of fainting are usually determined via EKG; Boston Children’s performs more than 20,000 EKGs a year. Because frequent fainting can be a sign of a larger cardiovascular issue, Boston Children’s researchers take fainting very seriously. Fainting during exercise is the most serious; to that end, Boston Children’s‘ unique program in Exercise Physiology performs more than 1,900 exercise tests a year.