Screening of Cardiovascular Autonomic Neuropathy in Patients with Diabetes by Quick and Simple Assessment of Sudomotor Function

Calvet JH, Dupin J, Deslypere JP.

J Diabetes Metab 2012;3(5).



Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is a common but often overlooked complication of diabetes. Sympathetic C-fibers innervating sweat glands can be impaired early on in patients with diabetes. In this study, SUDOSCAN, a new non-invasive device that assesses sudomotor function was compared to methods generally used for the investigation of CAN.


A total of 232 patients with diabetes were measured for heart rate variability (HRV) at rest and during moderate activity. Time and frequency domain analysis techniques, including measurement of the low-frequency (LF) domain component, were assessed during HRV testing. Ewing tests, as recommended by the French Health Authority, were also done. Electrochemical sweat conductance (ESC) was measured on the hands and feet, and a risk-score was calculated.


Using two abnormal Ewing tests as a reference for the area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve for SUDOSCAN, the risk-score was 0.74, with a sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 49% for a risk-score cut-off value of 35%. For the ROC curve analysis using the LF power component during moderate activity at a threshold of 90 ms(2) (first quartile) as reference, the AUC was higher for the SUDOSCAN risk-score (0.77) compared with the standard Ewing tests [E:I ratio (0.62), 30:15 ratio (0.76) and blood pressure change on standing (0.55)]. Using a cut-off value of 35%, risk-score sensitivity and specificity were 88 and 54%, respectively.


SUDOSCAN, which allows quick quantitative assessment of sudomotor function, may be used for early screening of CAN in everyday clinical practice before resorting to the more sophisticated and specific, but ultimately more time-consuming, Ewing tests.