Cardiovascular Autonomic Function Lab

  The Autonomic Nervous System

The Nervous System can be divided into two groups: Somatic and Autonomic Nervous systems. Both systems have sensory and motor components, but differ in the type of body functions they control.

 

The Autonomic Nervous System regulates internal body functions outside of the patients mind, such as heart rate, blood pressure and sweating, which a patient can't stop or start at their will.

 

At UME Health, we work with an award-winning team of physicians and autonomic neurophysiologists to conduct highly specialised, diagnostic tests to measure your body’s response to stimulation to determine how well your autonomic nervous system is functioning. This is called an Autonomic Function Test (AFT).

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Who is Autonomic Function Testing recommended for?

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It is recommended for patients with certain diseases which may affect the autonomic nervous system such as those with cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, diabetes, or post viral conditions such as long COVID. You may also be recommended for autonomic testing if you’re experiencing symptoms such as:

 

  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dizziness and/or Light Heartedness/Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal Sweating
  • Impaired urination

 

What happens during Autonomic Function Testing?

The tests take 2 hours to complete and are relatively simple, consisting of several activities designed to stimulate the autonomic nervous system to produce measurable changes in blood pressure, heart rate and breathing in a controlled and safe environment. All tests are painless, non-invasive and require no downtime.

 

  • You will have a consultation with the doctor prior to tests where he will explain each section of AFT and what it measures for reassurance and clarity.
  • After this, you will complete the tests with our autonomic neurophysiologist. They will guide you throughout and let you know what you are required to do in each test.
  • Your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate per minute will be measured throughout each test which will provide us with information on the control of your heartbeat.
  • We will connect you to an ECG (heart monitor), a belt around your waist to measure your breathing rate, a simple oxygen saturation sensor on your finger and a finger cuff on another finger to measure blood pressure continuously.
  • A non-invasive probe is placed on the skin which measures oxygen and carbon dioxide and these are recorded when you are in supine position (lying on your back)
  • Once you've had your consultation and have completed the tests with our autonomic neurophysiologist, a detailed report will be sent to your physician who referred you.

 

Tests Include:

 Deep Breathing Test

The patient is required to take several deep breaths over the course of a minute to assess the severity of autonomic diseases.

Tilt Table Test

The patient is required to lie on a table, that is raised slowly until they’re in an almost upright position. We also use the Active Stand test as an alternative to tilting.

Valsava's Manoeuvre

The patient is required to lean forward and blow into a tube to increase pressure in their chest.

Our Specialists

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Dr. Peter Julu

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Professor Melvin Lobo

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Dr. Mussadiq Shah

UME Health is one of only two facilities which offer comprehensive cardiovascular autonomic testing in the UK.

Highly specialised autonomic neurophysiologists carry out tests who are renowned for their clinical expertise and level of care.

A seamless service with no overnight stay required and an overall shorter waiting time compared to NHS waiting lists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us

If you have any further queries or would like to book an appointment, please use the below form to get in touch.