Autonomic Lab

Autonomic Lab Specialists Focus on Nerve Connections Between the Brain and Other Organs

The autonomic nervous system is the part of nervous system that controls involuntary functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, bladder, bowel and sexual function.

Problems in the autonomic nervous system involving the nerve connections between the brain and other organs are often difficult to diagnose. University Hospitals Neurological Institute provides physicians the data they need to identify and manage these complex conditions. We offer the only complete autonomic lab in Ohio, and the only one equipped for treating children.

Autonomic Lab Offers Multiple Neurological Tests

Careful assessment of heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, temperature regulation and other attributes can help identify autonomic disorders. The lab’s expert staff administers highly advanced, noninvasive diagnostic tests, including:

  • Cardiovascular autonomic tests: These three tests, which take an hour and a half, determine how well a patient’s autonomic nervous system regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test (QSART): This test, which takes about a half hour, assesses the functioning of a patient's sweat glands.
  • Quantitative sensory test: This hour-long test is used to determine if a patient has nerve damage.
  • Thermoregulatory sweat test (TST): This test, which takes two hours to complete, assesses the entire body's response to heat, which helps in identifying many neurological disorders.
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) testing: This series of three tests, which lasts about an hour and a half, is for patients who have experienced extended, undiagnosed pain in their arms or legs.
  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring: Patients are fitted with a blood pressure cuff and sent home, allowing physicians to monitor patient blood pressure over a 24-hour period.

Preparation Guidelines for Autonomic Testing

  • Patients must bring a physician referral and a completed testing information sheet.
  • Certain medications alter test results. Patients and physicians should refer to the testing information sheet for details and instructions.
  • Testing sometimes causes dizziness or fainting, so patients may need to have someone else drive them home.
  • Autonomic testing sometimes requires precertification from insurance companies. Referring physicians can obtain this documentation.
  • Patients with cardiac pacemakers should tell the lab staff so that special arrangements can be made.
  • Patients should avoid alcoholic drinks (for 14 hours), and nicotine and caffeine (for 3 hours) prior to testing.
  • Patients should have clean skin, free of lotions and perfumes, and should not wear constrictive clothing.

To Learn More

For more information about testing procedures, call 216-844-7622 To schedule an appointment, call the Autonomic Line at 216-844-3496.

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