Autonomic Testing Lab
A state-of-the-art autonomic testing lab is available at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. The lab offers one of the most comprehensive evaluations available throughout New England and the United States.
Autonomic nervous system testing helps to determine the presence, severity and localization of autonomic dysfunction and related small fiber neuropathy. It also helps to assess the cerebral blood flow. The Autonomic Lab at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital employs the Brigham Protocol or Syncope Protocol.
The Brigham Protocol has the following components:
All autonomic studies will be interpreted and available within four weeks of the completed study.
Complete this form and check the autonomic test series, then fax the form back to us at 617-983-7162.
For questions, call 617-983-7580.
Autonomic testing lasts between 1 to 2 hours long.
Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages and smoking one day prior to testing. You can have a normal meal before testing. Do not use lotion or oils on legs or arms day of testing. Wear a loose fitting short-sleeve top and bring a change of shorts.
In general, medication that is used for dysautonomia should be put on hold. This medication includes blood pressure medication, medication for abnormal heart rate, and certain pain medications (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, elavil).
Do not stop any of your medication by yourself! Always ask your physician about what medications you should stop taking before testing.
Autonomic testing consists of deep breathing exam, valsalva maneuver, cranial Doppler (blood flow), sweat test, tilt test and/or skin biopsy.
We do not administer any medication during testing. However, for the skin biopsy we do give a Lidocaine injection to numb the sites we take the sample from. If patients are allergic to Lidocaine we do offer a cold spray to freeze the area before taking the sample.
Lidocaine with epinephrine is the only medication we give topically for the skin biopsy. If a patient is allergic to epinephrine we have a pure lidocaine alternative. For patients allergic to lidocaine we can use the cold spray. For patients with Latex allergies we offer Latex-free dressings (such as paper tape).
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU LET US KNOW YOUR ALLERGIES!
Yes, there is a weight limit. Patients over 350 lbs. are unable to be tested.
The skin biopsy is 2 to 3mm wide and deep, it does not require stitching (just a regular bandage). You should keep the biopsy site dry for 1 week, so please schedule your testing accordingly. We are recommending avoiding bathing/swimming for 1 week. For showering, you might cover the biopsy site with an elastic bondage to keep it dry.
Right after testing you can resume all regular activities including driving but if you have concerns feel free to bring someone with you.
If you do not get the skin biopsy done, it will take 2 to 3 days to interpret your results. If you do get the skin biopsy, then it will take 3 to 4 weeks for results.
Patients that arrive more than 15minutes late will need to reschedule their appointment. Cancellations should be made 24 hours or more before the scheduled test date by calling 617-983-7160.
Yes, we recommend checking with your insurance company prior to testing to ensure the procedure is covered and the facility is in network. For procedure codes and/or NPI numbers please call 617-983-7104.
Yes, you can bring one person in with you for testing but we ask that that person not interrupt you during testing.
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