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Assessment of Gastrointestinal Autonomic Dysfunction: Present and Future Perspectives

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The autonomic nervous system delicately regulates the function of several target organs, including the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, nerve lesions or other nerve pathologies may cause autonomic dysfunction (AD). Some of the most common causes of AD are diabetes mellitus and α-synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease. Widespread dysmotility throughout the gastrointestinal tract is a common finding in AD, but no commercially available method exists for direct verification of enteric dysfunction. Thus, assessing segmental enteric physiological function is recommended to aid diagnostics and guide treatment. Several established assessment methods exist, but disadvantages such as lack of standardization, exposure to radiation, advanced data interpretation, or high cost, limit their utility. Emerging methods, including high-resolution colonic manometry, 3D-transit, advanced imaging methods, analysis of gut biopsies, and microbiota, may all assist in the evaluation of gastroenteropathy related to AD. This review provides an overview of established and emerging assessment methods of physiological function within the gut and assessment methods of autonomic neuropathy outside the gut, especially in regards to clinical performance, strengths, and limitations for each method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1392
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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