Objectives. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of autonomic dysfunction in patients with Parkinson 's disease (PD) using selected assessment methods and analysing correlations between test performances and clinical features of the disease.
Methods. 21 patients with PD (mean age 68.7 ±8 years) were examined using a self-report questionnaire of autonomic nervous system function, the Ewing battery of functional cardiovascular tests, and a neurophysiological indicator (sympathetic skin response, SSR).
Results. Autonomic function abnormality assessed by means of the questionnaire was present in 71.4% of thepts. Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (>2 abnormal cardiovascular tests) was diagnosed in 42.8% cases. Abnormal SSR (prolonged latency or absent SSR in at least 1 limb) was found in 66.7% pts. Scores on all the autonomic tests correlated with the disability status but not with the patient 's age, sex and form of the disease. Duration of the disease affected only the scores on the Ewing battery. SSR correlated both with the Ewing battery performance (p = 0.005) and the questionnaire scores (p = 0.02), while there was no correlation between the latter and the Ewing battery performance.
Conclusions. Symptoms of dysautonomia which occur in a great number of patients with PD increased with the disease progress. While the questionnaire assessment can serve as a preliminary examination, the diagnosis of dysautonomia needs to be confirmed by additional tests. Early diagnosis of autonomic dysfunction, especially that concerning the cardiovascular system, may be helpful in targeting individuals at an increased risk for vascular complications.