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Autonomic nervous function assessment using thermal reactivity of microcirculation.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Clinical Neurophysiology
1388-2457
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
111
Issue
10
Pages
1880–1888
Identifiers
PMID: 11018506
Source
Medline

Abstract

There are only a few reliable objective methods of diagnosing peripheral neuronal damage suitable for routine use; the most important is based on measurement of nerve conduction velocity, which only shows changes when severe disturbances are already present. However, it is precisely at this stage that the possibilities of therapy are no longer satisfactory. As small fibres are affected earlier in the course of most forms of PNP than the large ones, assessment of afferent as well as efferent C-fibre function gains importance in the management of this widespread disease. In assessment of autonomic dysfunction, variability of the heartbeat with deep breathing or the Valsalva manoeuvre is a good and generally accepted test, although not strongly associated with other PNP test abnormalities. However, axonal degeneration starts in the most distal parts of the axon due to impaired axonal transport. Therefore, the longest C-fibres, i.e. in the lower extremities, are affected first, and incipient changes are most prominent there. For this reason HLDF, a reflex response of the skin blood flow stimulated by heat, has advantages in assessment of early C-fibre dysfunction. Considering the fact that the afferent and efferent sympathetic C-fibres are involved in regulation of microcirculation, the skin blood flow regulation is investigated by means of laser Doppler flowmetry. The microcirculation is stimulated by heat and the reaction of microcirculation is assessed as a value for the function of afferent and efferent (sympathetic) C-fibres. The results of this method are in close correlation with electrophysiologic tests, which is not achieved with sudomotor function.

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