Cardiovascular autonomic testing performed with a new integrated instrumental approach is useful in differentiating MSA-P from PD at an early stage

Francesca Baschieri, Giovanna Calandra-Buonaura, Andrea Doria, Francesca Mastrolilli, Aldopaolo Palareti, Giorgio Barletta, Laura Solieri, Pietro Guaraldi, Paolo Martinelli, Pietro Cortelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To evaluate whether a battery of cardiovascular autonomic tests (Ewing's battery, EB) performed with a new integrated instrumental approach is useful in differentiating multiple system atrophy with predominant parkinsonism (MSA-P) from Parkinson's disease (PD) at an early stage. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed EB tests of all the patients (n=99) with a parkinsonian syndrome referred to our clinic who performed EB during the first diagnostic workup and were subsequently evaluated at least once a year until a final diagnosis of MSA-P (n=34) or PD (n=65). Thirty-eight controls matched for age and sex were included. EB consisted of head-up tilt test (HUTT), Valsalva manoeuvre (VM), deep breathing, and sustained handgrip whose correct execution and results were checked and obtained automatically. Results were compared between groups. Discriminant analysis was performed to identify MSA-P or PD patients. Results: Orthostatic hypotension was found in 22 MSA-P and 3 PD patients. Cardiovascular reflexes indices were significantly more affected in MSA-P compared to PD and controls. EB presented a 91% sensitivity and 94% specificity in the differentiation of MSA-P and PD. HUTT+VM presented a 91% sensitivity and 92% specificity. Conclusions: Our results suggest that EB or HUTT+VM performed with an integrated instrumental approach and analyzed with the discriminant procedure may distinguish MSA-P from PD at an early stage and might improve the accuracy of current diagnostic criteria. However, a validation in separate samples and prospective studies is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015



  • Cardiovascular autonomic testing
  • Disorders of autonomic nervous system
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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