Autonomic dysfunction in the neurological intensive care unit

AbstractAutonomic dysfunction is common in neuro-critical care patients and may compromise the function of various organs. Among the many diseases causing or being associated with autonomic dysfunction are traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular diseases, epilepsy, Guillain –Barré syndrome (GBS), alcohol withdrawal syndrome, botulism and tetanus, among many others. Autonomic dysfunction may afflict various organs and may involve hyper- or hypo-activity of the sympathetic or parasympathetic system. In this short overview, we address only a small number of neuro-inten sive care diseases with autonomic dysfunction. In GBS, autonomic dysfunction is frequent and may account for increased mortality rates; rapid changes between sympathetic and parasympathetic hypo- or hyper-activity may cause life-threatening cardiovascular complications. Paroxysmal sympathetic hypera ctivity occurs after brain injury, hypoxia and cerebrovascular and other events, causes paroxysmal tachycardia, hypertension, tachypnoea and hyperthermia and is associated with a poorer prognosis and prolonged intensive care treatment. Other, at times life-threatening autonomic complications with ex aggerated sympathetic activity and compromised baroreflex sensitivity arise during the alcohol withdrawal syndrome triggered by abrupt cessation of alcohol consumption. Botulism and tetanus are examples of life-threatening autonomic dysfunction caused by bacterial neurotoxins. Common neurological di seases, suc...
Source: Clinical Autonomic Research - Category: Research Source Type: research

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