Tilt-Table Testing

Contact Information

A tilt-table test must be ordered for you by a health care provider. Our referral line is (608) 263-9550.

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please give us at least 24 hours.

UW Health pain management in Madison, Wisconsin, offers tilt-table testing to help find the reason for symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting. It may also be ordered for some people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
What is a tilt-table test?
A tilt-table test examines how your heart and blood vessels respond to changes in your body’s position. During the test, you will lie on a special table that is tilted upright so that you are standing up. You will stand up during most of the test.
The Process
On the evening before the test:
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • If you are taking any medicine ordered by your doctor, take it at your usual time with a sip of water, unless told to do otherwise. 
After arriving for the test:
  • Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder before the test.
  • You will be asked to change into a special hospital gown.
  • You do not need to remove dentures, hearing aids, jewelry, contact lenses or eyeglasses.
  • The staff will explain the test to you and have you sign a consent form.
  • You will lie on a flat table with your feet against a board at the end of the table.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm. It will inflate frequently during the test. This may be slightly uncomfortable. The cuff squeezes less firmly after the first few times.
  • Safety straps will be placed across your legs and chest to keep you comfortable during the tilting part of the test.
During the test:
  • A complete tilt table test usually lasts about one hour.
  • After a few minutes of lying flat, the staff will tilt the table upright so that you are standing at a slight angle. Your blood pressure and pulse will be recorded often.
  • If you have any dizziness, sweating, nausea, fatigue, vision changes, or other discomfort, please tell the staff immediately.
  • If you feel too uncomfortable to continue, please tell the staff and they will quickly return you to the flat position.
  • At the end of the test, the staff will return the table to the flat position and you will be able to get up after resting for about five minutes.
After the test:
  • The test is considered positive if the tilting causes a large drop in blood pressure, a large change in heart rate, fainting or near-fainting.
  • Unless other tests are planned, you may go home and resume normal activity after the test.
  • We will send a report of the results to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you and make plans for more treatment, if needed.