Assessment of autonomic function in a cohort of patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis
To assess symptoms and objective parameters of autonomic dysfunction (AD) in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitides.
Symptoms and objective parameters of AD were assessed in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis and in age-matched healthy controls. Autonomic symptoms were explored by COMPASS31, a validated questionnaire addressing symptoms of six autonomic domains (orthostatic, vasomotor, secretomotor, gastrointestinal, pupillomotor, and bladder dysfunction). Objective autonomic parameters consisted of expiratory/inspiratory (E/I) ratio during the deep breathing test (DBT), blood pressure response to cold pressor test (CPT), and skin conductance changes during mental arithmetic.
27 patients and 27 healthy controls have been enrolled. 27 patients and 27 controls completed COMPASS31. 21 patients and 18 controls underwent objective autonomic testing. Vasculitis patients had significantly higher COMPASS31 total scores than controls (median 10.4 vs 3.0; p = 0.005). In the sub-domain analysis, significant differences were seen in the vasomotor and the bladder domain (p = 0.004; p < 0.001, respectively). No correlation was found between COMPASS31 score and disease duration, number of affected organs, or Birmingham vasculitis activity score (BVAS). There was no significant difference in any of the objective autonomic parameters between patients and controls. In a subgroup analysis, no difference in objective autonomic parameters was found between patients with active disease (n = 12) and patients in remission (n = 7).
Patients with ANCA-associated vasculitides commonly have symptoms of autonomic dysfunction that are independent of disease duration and disease severity. However, at least in this single-centre observation, there was no evidence of impaired autonomic regulation in three autonomic function tests in vasculitis patients.
KeywordsANCA Vasculitis Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Microscopic polyangiitis Autonomic neuropathy Autonomic dysfunction Heart rate variability
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
No conflicts of interest.
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