Autonomic Unit 

The autonomic nervous system supplies and influences virtually every organ in the body.  Additionally, it is involved in major integrative processes such as control of blood pressure and body temperature. 

The autonomic unit provides a comprehensive national tertiary clinical service (combining both investigation and management) for a wide variety of autonomic disorders. The unit enables people with autonomic symptoms, some of which are multiple and complex, to successfully manage their daily lives. Some examples are:

  • Pure Autonomic Failure
  • Autonomic dysfunction complicating Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)
  • Sweating dysfunction (including hyperhidrosis, compensatory hyperhidrosis and anhidrosis)
  • Holmes-Adie Syndrome, Harlequin’s Syndrome
  • Autonomic dysfunction in spinal cord injury including autonomic dysreflexia
  • Neurally mediated syncope (Vasovagal, carotid sinus hypersensitivity and situational e.g. swallow, micturition syncope)
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS)
  • Neurogenic hypertension
  • Autonomic diabetic neuropathy.

There are four laboratories incorporating the latest advances in non-invasive technology and a catecholamine laboratory for the measurement of various autonomic neurotransmitters.

As autonomic dysfunction is a feature of many neurological conditions, there is close and active clinical collaboration with many NHNN departments and disciplines including clinical neurophysiology, clinical neuropsychology, movement disorders, and behavioural psychotherapy. Research affiliations include the Functional Imaging Laboratory at the ION, the ICN, the Department of Medicine at UCL, and the National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free Hospital.
 
Conditions treated

  • Fainting (syncope, posturally induced dizziness) episodes disorders of temperature regulation (including excessive sweating; hyperhidrosis) - these may be a key component of predominantly autonomic diseases such as pure autonomic failure, multiple system atrophy or may be a complication of diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Lewy body disease or amyloidosis.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Orthostatic (postural) hypotension

Other disorders we provide care for include :

  • Acute/subacute dysautonomia
  • Amyloidosis (familial and primary)
  • Anihidrosis
  • Congenital autonomic failure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Holmes-Adie syndrome
  • Hyperhidrosis (essential and gustatory)
  • Neurally mediated syncope (vasovagal, micturition, cough, swallow and other situational forms, carotid sinus supersenstivity)
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS)
  • Transverse myelitis

Patient support services

Where relevant extended through clinical autonomic nurse specialist.

Patient aftercare

The autonomic unit shares care with GPs and local consultants.

Dr Gordon Ingle Autonomic Unit, Neurology and neurosurgery

 Contact details

Autonomic unit
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
2nd Floor
Queen Mary Wing
Queen Square
London WC1N 3BG

Patient enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 3413

GP enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 3413
Fax: 020 7916 1722

Service manager - Katharine Bleasdale-Barr
Email: katharine.bleasdale-barr@uclh.nhs.uk

 NHNN interactive hospital service guide

 Useful links