Background and purpose: Disorders of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are common conditions, but it is unclear whether access to ANS healthcare provision is homogeneous across European countries. The aim of this study was to identify neurology-driven or interdisciplinary clinical ANS laboratories in Europe, describe their characteristics and explore regional differences. Methods: We contacted the European national ANS and neurological societies, as well as members of our professional network, to identify clinical ANS laboratories in each country and invite them to answer a web-based survey. Results: We identified 84 laboratories in 22 countries and 46 (55%) answered the survey. All laboratories perform cardiovascular autonomic function tests, and 83% also perform sweat tests. Testing for catecholamines and autoantibodies are performed in 63% and 56% of laboratories, and epidermal nerve fiber density analysis in 63%. Each laboratory is staffed by a median of two consultants, one resident, one technician and one nurse. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) number of head-up tilt tests/laboratory/year is 105 (49–251). Reflex syncope and neurogenic orthostatic hypotension are the most frequently diagnosed cardiovascular ANS disorders. Thirty-five centers (76%) have an ANS outpatient clinic, with a median (IQR) of 200 (100–360) outpatient visits/year; 42 centers (91%) also offer inpatient care (median 20 [IQR 4–110] inpatient stays/year). Forty-one laboratories (89%) are involved in research activities. We observed a significant difference in the geographical distribution of ANS services among European regions: 11 out of 12 countries from North/West Europe have at least one ANS laboratory versus 11 out of 21 from South/East/Greater Europe (p = 0.021). Conclusions: This survey highlights disparities in the availability of healthcare services for people with ANS disorders across European countries, stressing the need for improved access to specialized care in South, East and Greater Europe.

Clinical autonomic nervous system laboratories in Europe. A joint survey of the European Academy of Neurology and the European Federation of Autonomic Societies

Calandra-Buonaura G.;Cortelli P.;Guaraldi P.;
2022

Abstract

Background and purpose: Disorders of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are common conditions, but it is unclear whether access to ANS healthcare provision is homogeneous across European countries. The aim of this study was to identify neurology-driven or interdisciplinary clinical ANS laboratories in Europe, describe their characteristics and explore regional differences. Methods: We contacted the European national ANS and neurological societies, as well as members of our professional network, to identify clinical ANS laboratories in each country and invite them to answer a web-based survey. Results: We identified 84 laboratories in 22 countries and 46 (55%) answered the survey. All laboratories perform cardiovascular autonomic function tests, and 83% also perform sweat tests. Testing for catecholamines and autoantibodies are performed in 63% and 56% of laboratories, and epidermal nerve fiber density analysis in 63%. Each laboratory is staffed by a median of two consultants, one resident, one technician and one nurse. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) number of head-up tilt tests/laboratory/year is 105 (49–251). Reflex syncope and neurogenic orthostatic hypotension are the most frequently diagnosed cardiovascular ANS disorders. Thirty-five centers (76%) have an ANS outpatient clinic, with a median (IQR) of 200 (100–360) outpatient visits/year; 42 centers (91%) also offer inpatient care (median 20 [IQR 4–110] inpatient stays/year). Forty-one laboratories (89%) are involved in research activities. We observed a significant difference in the geographical distribution of ANS services among European regions: 11 out of 12 countries from North/West Europe have at least one ANS laboratory versus 11 out of 21 from South/East/Greater Europe (p = 0.021). Conclusions: This survey highlights disparities in the availability of healthcare services for people with ANS disorders across European countries, stressing the need for improved access to specialized care in South, East and Greater Europe.
Habek M.; Leys F.; Krbot Skoric M.; Reis Carneiro D.; Calandra-Buonaura G.; Camaradou J.; Chiaro G.; Cortelli P.; Falup-Pecurariu C.; Granata R.; Guaraldi P.; Helbok R.; Hilz M.J.; Iodice V.; Jordan J.; Kaal E.C.A.; Kamondi A.; Pavy Le Traon A.; Rocha I.; Sellner J.; Senard J.M.; Terkelsen A.; Wenning G.K.; Berger T.; Thijs R.D.; Struhal W.; Fanciulli A.; Adamec I.; Aerts A.; Canta L.L.R.; Delamont R.S.; de Lange F.; Del Sorbo F.; Devigili G.; Di Leo R.; Dinh T.; Fortrat J.-O.; Gierthmuhlen J.; Hemels M.; Kohn J.; Kroigard T.; Lipp A.; Maier A.; Marinelli L.; Mazzeo A.; Milenkovic I.; Motyl M.; Natali Sora M.G.; Navarro-Otano J.; Nilsen K.B.; Oliveira M.; Omland P.M.; Pelliccioni G.; Pereon Y.; Resch R.J.; Rocchi C.; Roche F.; Rutten J.; Tijero Merino B.; Tutaj M.; van der Heijden-Montfroy A.M.H.G.; van Hoeve B.J.A.; van Orshoven N.; Wang R.; Z'Graggen W.J.
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