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Autonomic function testing: an important diagnostic test for patients with syncope
  1. Pearl K Jones1,
  2. Christopher H Gibbons2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, UT Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA
  2. 2Autonomic and Peripheral Nerve Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pearl K Jones, Department of Neurology, UT Health Science Center San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX, USA; jonesp3{at}


Syncope is a common problem with a large differential diagnosis. The initial history and physical examination often provide initial clues; however, some cases warrant further testing to determine the underlying cause. Autonomic function testing is a safe way to evaluate patients with syncope further, and to assess their parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Autonomic testing can help to diagnose several conditions, including orthostatic hypotension, delayed orthostatic hypotension, postural tachycardia syndrome and neutrally mediated syncope. Thus, when the cause of syncope is unclear, autonomic testing can help to assess the autonomic nervous system, stratify the risk of future episodes and to guide treatment decisions.


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