Diagnosing Dysautonomia

Autonomic dysfunction (or dysautonomia) can be expressed in a variety of ways depending on which organ system is involved.

Most commonly there are problems in blood pressure control or heart rate functions. There can also be problems sweating or gastrointestinal disturbances.

We are equipped to perform a variety of specialized tests depending on your symptoms. Some of the more commonly performed tests are listed here.

Common Tests

Tilt Table Test

A tilt table is a flat bed that can be tilted upwards and then returned to the horizontal i.e., flat position.

When lying on the tilt table your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and blood flow in your brain and in your arm will be measured using a variety of devices.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor

Upon leaving the Dysautonomia Center, we may fit a blood pressure cuff around your arm, which is attached to a small monitor that can be carried around, e.g. on a belt.

The cuff will inflate for a few seconds every half an hour and measure your blood pressure.

You will leave the laboratory wearing the cuff and are free to go about your normal daily activities.

You will be asked to return the monitor the following day.

This recording will tell us how your blood pressure changes during a normal day. 

Blood Tests

We may take two small samples of blood once when you are lying down and once when you are tilted upright on the table.

The blood sample will be used to measure the level of special substances that are released by the autonomic nerves, called catecholamines.