Autonomic nervous system laboratories: A European survey

Heinz Lahrmann, F. Magnifico, C. A. Haensch, P. Cortelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a questionnaire-based survey on methods adopted in European autonomic nervous system (ANS) laboratories in the year 2002. Seventy-nine laboratories from 16 countries in Western and Eastern Europe provided information on test methods, equipment, staff, educational programme and research activities. The results confirmed the anticipated heterogeneity of techniques used to investigate ANS disorders. However, cardiovascular (84.8%) and sudomotor (43.0%) tests were the most common. There were no standards regarding equipment, but devices used varied widely, in part commercially available, in part self-developed. Some ANS laboratories performed cardiovascular tests using standard EMG devices with implemented routines to measure heart rate variability. Many investigators used published normative data (75.4%). Most of the responders were involved in scientific work, half were active in education of trainees. A wide variation was found in number and profession of staff members. As more than 60% of questionnaires were returned by neurologists our results may be limited to neurological ANS laboratories. Given the wide variation of methods and equipment used in European ANS laboratories, minimal standards for routine ANS testing are desirable. Standards may help to compare results of diagnostic tests, evaluate equipment and test laboratory methods and commercial devices and set-up educational programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-379
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Equipment
  • Laboratory
  • Questionnaire
  • Test methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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