Autonomic Nervous System Function

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175 Scopus citations


Summary: Tests of autonomic function for the clinical autonomic neurophysiology laboratory should be noninvasive, sensitive, specific, reproducible, physiologically and clinically relevant, and not be excessively time-consuming. Laboratory evaluation is strongly indicated when the following are suspected: 1 generalized autonomic failure, 2 benign autonomic disorders that mimic life-threatening disorders, 3 distal small-fiber neuropathy, 4 the autonomic neuropathies,5 sympathetically maintained pain, and 6 the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. The preparation of the subject is important. Recommended tests should evaluate an adequate number of relevant autonomic systems. The Mayo laboratory utilizes two test batteries, the autonomic reflex screen and the reflex sympathetic dystrophy RSD screen. The former comprises the quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test QSART, orthostatic blood pressure BP and heart rate HR responses to tilt, HR response to deep breathing, the Valsalva ratio, and beat to beat BP responses to the Valsalva maneuver, tilt, and deep breathing. The RSD screen comprises the recording of skin temperature, resting sweat output, and QSART distributions bilaterally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Adrenergicfunction
  • Autonomictests
  • Cardiovagalfunction
  • Qsart
  • Reflexsympatheticdystrophy
  • Valsalvamaneuver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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