Autonomic testing helps find out if your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is working as well as it should. Your ANS controls body functions that happen automatically. These include breathing, heartbeat, body temperature, and digestion.
Because most of the autonomic nervous system is inaccessible to direct physiological testing, in the clinical setting the most widely used techniques entail the assessment of an end-organ response to a physiological provocation. The noninvasive measures of cardiovascular parasympathetic function involve the assessment of heart rate variability while the measures of cardiovascular sympathetic function assess the blood pressure response to physiological stimuli.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) testing has a standardized and specific protocol established for acquiring reliable and accurate results. Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) testing can be tolerated by most patients as there are specific maneuvers required to be performed throughout the test. The test includes 4 sections. These sections include:
- Resting heart rate, blood pressure & pulse (arterial) waveform
- Valsalva Maneuver
- Deep breathing
- Response to postural change (sitting to standing)
The ANS test takes between 15-20 minutes and is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurances.