The tilt-table test is a simple and inexpensive test which helps to identify the causes of fainting or lightheadedness, known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension, by placing a patient on a table with a foot-support and then tilting the table upward by starting in a horizontal position and ended in completely vertical position.
During the test, the patient's blood pressure, pulse, and symptoms are monitored. The test can be done only when heart disease is not suspected of being responsible for an attack of fainting (syncope) or near-syncope.
Postural hypotension is a common cause of an episode of temporary loss of consciousness or feelings of lightheadedness by changing body position from a prone, supine, or sitting position to a more vertical position and causing the brain to receive less oxygen because it tends to pool in the legs due to gravity and a disproportionate distribution of blood to the legs, instead of returning to the circulation.
After testing, a person can be admitted to the hospital for observation and further testing but that depends on the presence or absence of signs and symptoms during the tilt-table test. Also, a test can be performed on hospitalized patients for evaluation of the cause of temporary loss of consciousness.