A new integrated instrumental approach to autonomic nervous system assessment

I. Corazza, G. Barletta, P. Guaraldi, A. Cecere, G. Calandra-Buonaura, E. Altini, R. Zannoli, P. Cortelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates involuntary body functions and is commonly evaluated by measuring reflex responses of systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) to physiological and pharmacological stimuli. However, BP and HR values may not sufficient be to explain specific ANS events and other parameters like the electrocardiogram (ECG), BP waves, the respiratory rate and the electroencephalogram (EEG) are mandatory. Although ANS behaviour and its response to stimuli are well-known, their clinical evaluation is often based on individual medical training and experience. As a result, ANS laboratories have been customized, making it impossible to standardize procedures and share results with colleagues. The aim of our study was to build a powerful versatile instrument easy-to-use in clinical practice to standardize procedures and allow a cross-analysis of all the parameters of interest for ANS evaluation. Methods: The new ANScovery System developed by neurologists and technicians is a two-step device: (1) integrating physiological information from different already existing commercial modules, making it possible to cross-analyse, store and share data; (2) standardizing procedures by an innovative tutor monitor able to guide the patient throughout ANS testing. Results and conclusions: The daily use of the new ANScovery System in clinical practice has proved it is a versatile easy to use instrument. Standardization of the manoeuvres and step-by-step guidance throughout the procedure avoid repetitions and allow intra and inter-patient data comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-276
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Cardiovascular reflexes
  • Integrated solution
  • Signal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Health Informatics


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