Chapter

Autonomic Nervous System Studies

Jay A. Liveson and Dong M. Ma

in Laboratory Reference for Clinical Neurophysiology

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780195129243
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847792 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195129243.003.0021
Autonomic Nervous System Studies

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Autonomic function can be tested by its influence on vascular and cardiac function. Thus, the variation of the R-R interval during electrocardiography can be used or changes in blood pressure. The pupillary reflex also reflects parasympathetic function and can be quantitated. Only recently was the technique of sympathetic skin response testing designed specifically so that it could be performed with standard equipment in a clinical electrophysiologic laboratory setting. Microneuronography provides a more direct method to measure function of the autonomic nerve fibers. This entails inserting a fine metal microelectrode into a nerve, and maintaining it in situ while various maneuvers of the autonomic function are performed. Latencies of sympathetic reflexes and conduction velocities can be elicited using this methodology. Routine use of the procedures of microneuronography is impractical. It is invasive, requires special training and practice, and does not permit adequate sampling to be useful in a clinical diagnostic setting.

Keywords: autonomic function; R-R interval; electrocardiography; pupillary reflex; sympathetic reflexes; conduction velocities; microneuronography

Chapter.  2065 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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