How to assess sympathetic nervous system activity in clinical practice

Gino Seravalle, Kyriakos Dimitriadis, Raffaella Dell'Oro, Guido Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present paper reviews the techniques allowing to assess sympathetic activity in humans, highlighting their advantages and limitations. While plasma noradrenaline measurement represents a useful and widely used method to evaluate sympathetic neural function, new approaches, developed starting from the seventies, like direct recording of sympathetic nerve traffic and noradrenaline spillover. These approaches have largely supplanted the plasma noradrenaline approach due to the precise estimation of the behavior of regional sympathetic neural function. The paper in particular will focus the microneurographic technique, considered as the gold standard, and on the new clinical evidences obtained with this technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Microneurography
  • Noradrenaline spillover
  • Plasma noradrenaline
  • Power spectral analysis
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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