Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 223–233 | Cite as

The autonomic medical history

  • David S. GoldsteinEmail author
  • William P. CheshireJr


The most important autonomic function test—the autonomic medical history—is the patient’s account, interpreted by a clinician skilled in asking the right questions, of symptoms during daily activities that relate to the autonomic nervous system. The chronology and pattern of these symptoms combine to create a portrait of autonomic function or dysfunction. We summarize the steps in obtaining a comprehensive autonomic medical history.


Autonomic Sympathetic Parasympathetic Noradrenergic Cholinergic 



Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy


Autonomic nervous system


Chronic orthostatic intolerance


Ehlers–Danlos syndrome


Enteric nervous system




History of the present illness


Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy


Multiple system atrophy




Orthostatic hypotension


Orthostatic intolerance


Pure autonomic failure


Parasympathetic nervous system


Postural tachycardia syndrome


Review of systems


Sympathetic adrenergic system


Sympathetic cholinergic system


Sympathetic noradrenergic system


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that there is no conflict of interest.


The research reported here was supported by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (Outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Neurocardiology Section, Clinical Neurosciences Program, Division of Intramural ResearchNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyMayo ClinicJacksonvilleUSA

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