Autonomic dysfunction in clinically isolated syndrome suggestive of multiple sclerosis

Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Jan;127(1):864-869. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the extent of autonomic dysfunction in patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) by using a standardized battery of autonomic tests in the form of the Composite Autonomic Scoring Scale (CASS).

Methods: This was a prospective, cross sectional study which included 24 consecutive patients who were diagnosed with CIS and 17 healthy controls. In all participants, heart rate and blood pressure responses to the Valsalva maneuver, heart rate response to deep breathing and blood pressure response to passive tilt were performed. In 16 patients, Quantitative Sudomotor Axon Reflex Test (QSART) and catecholamine measurement was performed.

Results: The proportion of CIS patients with pathological adrenergic index was statistically significantly higher compared to healthy controls (12 vs 2, p=0.018), while there was no difference in cardiovagal index between groups. Five patients had a sudomotor index of 1 (in 4 there was hypohydrosis <50% and in 1 persistent foot hyperhidrosis). When combining adrenergic, cardiovagal and sudomotor index into CASS, 8 patients (50%) had evidence of autonomic dysfunction, 7 mild and one moderate.

Conclusion: Sympathetic nervous system is frequently affected in CIS patients.

Significance: CASS is able to detect autonomic nervous system dysfunction in CIS patients.

Keywords: Autonomic dysfunction; Clinically isolated syndrome; Composite Autonomic Scoring Scale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies