Autonomic Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease

Ronald F. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Recognition of the importance of nonmotor dysfunction as a component of Parkinson’s disease has exploded over the past three decades. Autonomic dysfunction is a frequent and particularly important nonmotor feature because of the broad clinical spectrum it covers. Cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, urinary, sexual, and thermoregulatory abnormalities all can appear in the setting of Parkinson’s disease. Cardiovascular dysfunction is characterized most prominently by orthostatic hypotension. Gastrointestinal dysfunction can involve virtually all levels of the gastrointestinal tract. Urinary dysfunction can entail either too frequent voiding or difficulty voiding. Sexual dysfunction is frequent and frustrating for both patient and partner. Alterations in sweating and body temperature are not widely recognized but often are present. Autonomic dysfunction can significantly and deleteriously impact quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Because effective treatment for many aspects of autonomic dysfunction is available, it is vitally important that assessment of autonomic dysfunction be a regular component of the neurologic history and exam and that appropriate treatment be initiated and maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1479
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Autonomic
  • erectile dysfunction
  • gastrointestinal
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • thermoregulatory
  • urinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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