The Autonomic Nervous System is a very fundamental part of the human nervous system. It:
• Maintains homeostasis.
• Switches on the digestive system when eating.
• Controls flow of waste material.
• Regulates the pace of the heart.
• Regulates the dilation of the blood vessels and consequently the blood pressure.
• Adjusts resistance to airflow in and out of the lungs.
• Regulates body temperature.
• Varies the size of the pupil and lens’ thickness.
• Controls reproductive organs.
ANS is a diagnostic tool to evaluate symptoms of vasomotor instability for any of the following:
• Diagnose the presence of autonomic neuropathy in a patient with symptoms suggesting a progressive autonomic neuropathy, including Diabetic neuropathy, Amyloid neuropathy, Sjogren’s syndrome, Idiopathic neuropathy, Pure autonomic failure, and Multiple system dystrophy.
• Evaluate the severity and distribution of a diagnosed progressive autonomic neuropathy.
• Differentiate the diagnosis between certain variants of syncope from other causes of loss of consciousness.
• Evaluate inadequate response to beta blockade in vasodepressor syncope.
• Differentiate the cause of postural tachycardia syndrome.
• Evaluate change in type, distribution or severity of autonomic deficits in patients with autonomic failure.
• Evaluate the response to treatment in patients with autonomic failure.
• Diagnose axonal neuropathy or suspected autonomic neuropathy in the symptomatic patient.
• Evaluate and diagnose sympathetically maintained pain, as in reflex sympathetic dystrophy or causalgia.
• Evaluate and treat patients with recurrent unexplained syncope to demonstrate autonomic failure.
• Detects and records variations in the R-R, or beat-to-beat, interval, and respiratory activity and plots this data.
• Data undergo spectral analysis to identify high- and low-frequency components of the heartbeat interval (HBI) plot.
• Performs spectral analysis of the respiratory signal to precisely locate the parasympathetic, or high-frequency, a component of the HBI signal.
• Respiratory activity analysis provides independent and more specific measurements of sympathetic activity and parasympathetic activity at rest to determine the balance between the branches, during individual challenges to each branch, and a combined challenge to both branches to detect degrees of neuropathy or ANS branch suppression or excess.
This is used with conditions including:
• Post-MI & other cardiac conditions.
• Neurologic problems.
• Circulation problems.
There are six challenges included in these tests:
1. Resting (initial) baseline measurements.
2. The parasympathetic challenge of deep breathing.
3. Return to baseline.
4. The sympathetic challenge of a series of short Valsalva maneuvers.
5. Return to baseline.
6. Quick postural change, going from seated position to standing, followed by quiet standing.
• Evaluation of current health situation – symptoms, medications and therapy reactions.
• Assessment of possible adequacy of the recovery process.
• Initiation of Physician’s focus to treat the onset of chronic situations or severity of the diseases.
• Evaluation of the prognosis and treatment outcomes.
• Identification of abnormalities in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular system and overall health assessment.
• Blood circulatory status – age of blood vessels based on arterial elasticity, peripheral circulatory rate, organic/functional abnormality of the blood vessels.
• Prediction and progression of Arteriosclerosis, Obesity, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia and Diabetes.
• Useful as a health barometer.