Statistics indicate that 70%-80% of all patients with chronic autoimmune and/or Endocrine Conditions develop Neuropathy. Sudomotor Scans diagnose the onset of peripheral neuropathy before it has affected the major nerves. Early detection allows you to delay or prevent the neuropathy from spreading to the nerves, therefore reducing the incidence of full-blown neuropathy, infections, and possible amputations. This is a non-invasive, painless state-of-the-art test that gives instant results.
What is a Sudomotor Scan?
A Sudomotor scan is performed to assess Sudomotor function, which is essentially sweat gland function under precise circumstances. This diagnostic screening has been developed to allow physicians to gain immediate and very early information related to autonomic nervous system dysfunction. By measuring the nerves that control sweating, the Sudomotor scan paves the way for the earliest possible intervention of conditions that may cause neurophysiologic abnormalities.
This screening looks at the farthest, smallest implications of autonomic failure, in the sweat glands. Research confirms that sweat gland function is controlled by small, unmyelinated C-fibers. Since these fibers lack myelin, they do not have the electrically insulated layer of fat and protein that other cells do. Specific testing of the sweat glands, then, enables physicians to better understand the severity of the degeneration of the fibers associated with autonomic nervous system disorders and peripheral neuropathies.
What Does a Sudomotor Test Measure?
The technical aspect of Sudomotor testing indicates measurement of BEC, or bio-electrochemical sweat skin conductances. This test tells us how capable a person’s sweat glands are of transferring chloride ions resulting from direct stimulation. This information then helps us quantify the innervation, or presence and integrity of nerves, that control sweat glands. Because these peripheral nerves are small and involve both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, there is the potential for immediate and accurate diagnosis of neuropathic condition.
What are the Benefits to a Sudomotor Scan?
We may recommend Sudomotor scans for a number of reasons. Ultimately, this diagnostic scan:
- Provides important data related to the peripheral autonomic nervous system and the potential for painful neuropathy.
- Facilitates the most accurate diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy compared to standardized testing.
- Provides valuable information related to the cause of peripheral neuropathy.
- Reaches high rates of sensitivity and specificity, related to the accuracy of test results.
- Evaluates autonomic and somatic nerve function (shown to be one of the best estimates of cardiovascular risk)
- Early intervention can greatly decrease the potential for severe and permanent nerve damage, which results in painful neuropathy.
- Supports fast adjustments to therapeutic care since it provides data related to the physical response of a treatment protocol.
Sudomotor Scan Process
Sudomotor scans work on the basis of reverse iontophoresis. Once we place small electrodes in various positions on the body, often the hands and the feet, we are able to draw out the ions we need to observe. The electrodes that are placed on the skin emit low-frequency voltage (less than 4 volts), which incites an electrochemical reaction with the ions being extracted from sweat glands.
It is this reaction that then provides us with the BEC (bio-electrochemical sweat skin conductances) measurement necessary to identify early signs of neuropathy. In some cases, the test involves placing hands and feet on small metal plates that then deliver small bursts of voltage to the palms and soles. The voltage is so low that patients do not feel it.
The Sudomotor Scan is a painless, 3-minute test that we perform in our comfortable facility.
Sudomotor Scan Results
The most valuable aspect of the Sudomotor scan is that it provides immediate and accurate information. Historically, the evaluation of peripheral nerves has been invasive, requiring a biopsy of innervated tissue for microscopic observation. Using the Sudomotor scan, we are able to obtain valuable information without invasive technique and without wait time.
This then enables us to act quickly to treat underlying conditions that could lead to damage in large nerve fibers.
(Length of test: 3 minutes)