Background: This review summarizes current knowledge about cardiovascular reflex tests (CVRTs) and other selected autonomic nervous system (ANS) assessment tests in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and assesses their clinical utility in this group of patients. Methods: The PubMed database was searched for terms associated with CVRTs and SLE. Only papers available in full text and published in English were considered. Ultimately, 13 were selected and analyzed. Results: In most of the studies CVRTs results were reported more likely to be abnormal in patients with SLE when compared with controls. The reported prevalence of ANS dysfunction in SLE, diagnosed using CVRTs, ranged from 23.5% to 82.7% of patients, likely because of different definitions of ANS dysfunction, variability in methods of performing CVRTs, and potential confounding factors. In general CVRTs results did not correlate with SLE activity or disease duration, but some CVRTs results correlated with some peptides associated with ANS function, including neuropeptide Y and vasoactive intestinal peptide. Conclusion: Patients with SLE generally have abnormal or borderline results of CVRTs, which indicate prevalent abnormalities of the ANS in SLE. Performance of CVRTs requires good standardization of test conditions and familiarity with the proper administration and interpretation of these tests.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- autonomic nervous system dysfunction
- cardiovascular reflex tests