Predicting phenoconversion in pure autonomic failure

Elizabeth A. Coon, Jay N. Mandrekar, Sarah E. Berini, Eduardo E. Benarroch, Paola Sandroni, Phillip A. Low, Wolfgang Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


ObjectiveTo determine predicting factors and frequency of phenoconversion from pure autonomic failure (PAF) into a synucleinopathy with motor or cognitive involvement of multiple system atrophy (MSA), Parkinson disease (PD), or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).MethodsWe performed a retrospective review of all patients with PAF from 2001 to 2011 evaluated at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Clinical follow-up and patient telephone calls were used to assess for development of symptoms and diagnosis of MSA, PD, or DLB. Clinical and laboratory variables were extracted with factors predictive of evolution assessed using group comparison, odds ratio, and logistical regression.ResultsAmong 275 patients with PAF at presentation, 67 (24%) phenoconverted to a synucleinopathy with motor or cognitive involvement; 34 met criteria for MSA, while 33 met criteria for PD or DLB. Age at onset was younger in MSA phenoconverters. Clinical features at presentation influenced phenoconversion: severe bladder symptoms were more common in MSA phenoconverters; subtle motor signs were more frequent in MSA and PD/DLB phenoconverters. MSA phenoconverters were more likely to have higher supine norepinephrine levels and preganglionic pattern of anhidrosis. Presentation variables predicting MSA phenoconversion included subtle motor signs, supine norepinephrine levels, severe bladder symptoms, and dream enactment behavior. Presentation variables predictive of PD/DLB phenoconversion included subtle motor signs, dream enactment behavior, and constipation.ConclusionsOur findings suggest that at least a quarter of patients with PAF phenoconvert to MSA, PD, or DLB. Presentation features determine patients at risk for evolution with specific patterns indicative of phenoconversion to MSA vs PD/DLB.Classification of evidence:This study provides Class II evidence that several presentation variables including subtle motor signs, severe bladder symptoms, and dream enactment behavior are associated with an increased risk of developing a synucleinopathy with motor or cognitive involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E889-E897
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 18 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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