Impact of autonomic dysfunctions on the quality of life in Parkinson's disease patients

Acta Neurol Belg. 2017 Mar;117(1):207-211. doi: 10.1007/s13760-016-0739-6. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


Autonomic dysfunctions are part of a spectrum of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of autonomic dysfunctions and their influence on the quality of life (QoL) in PD patients, adjusted for age, sex, disease duration and motor symptoms. Patients were evaluated for motor function (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, UPDRS part III), disease stage (Hoehn and Yahr scale, H&Y scale), autonomic dysfunction (Scales for Outcomes in Parkinson's disease, Autonomic, SCOPA-AUT) and QoL (Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39, PDQ-39). Urinary, gastrointestinal and sexual autonomic dysfunctions were most frequently reported, while the most severe symptoms were reported for sexual and urinary systems. Age and motor symptoms did not correlate with autonomic dysfunction, while disease duration correlated with cardiovascular dysfunction. There were sex differences on the thermoregulation subscale. All types of autonomic dysfunction influenced QoL, mostly gastrointestinal and thermoregulatory dysfunctions, except for sexual one. Many aspects of QoL (activity of daily living, emotion, cognitive functions, communication and social support) except for stigma and mobility were affected by autonomic dysfunctions. Age, disease duration, sex and motor symptoms were not found to affect global QoL scores, but had detrimental effects on different PDQ-39 dimensions. Autonomic dysfunctions influence QoL in more aspects than motor symptoms, age, disease duration and sex. Patients tend to be more stigmatized with motor than non-motor symptoms.

Keywords: Autonomic dysfunctions; PDQ-39; Parkinson’s disease; Quality of life; SCOPA-AUT.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires