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Autonomic Function Test (AFT)

The autonomic nervous system regulates important body functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and perspiration. An Autonomic Function Test (AFT) helps to measure these body functions.

The results help in evaluation of neurological conditions with autonomic involvement (e.g. Parkinson's disease, nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)) and symptoms (e.g. fainting spells, dizziness, balancing problems).


How should I prepare for the test?

  • Continue with your regular diet and medications unless instructed differently by your doctor.
  • Bring all medications or note down the name and dosage of the medication you are taking. Pass this information to the neuro electrophysiologist before your test.
  • Wear a loose shirt, blouse, bermuda shorts or shorts.
  • Contact 6330 6363 if you have an implanted electronic device (e.g. device to regulate heartbeat (pacemaker), device to monitor heart rhythm (cardioverter defibrillator), device that sends mild electrical signals (neurostimulator).

How is the test performed?

The test is done by a neuro electrophysiologist and takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.
The test involves a series of procedures to measure your blood pressure, heart rate changes and sweat function to certain manoeuvres.

  • A blood pressure cuff is attached to your arm to monitor your blood pressure.
  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest to record your heart rhythm.
  • Your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be recorded throughout the test.
  • You will be guided by the neuro electrophysiologist to perform the following movements/exercises:
    • Get up from a lying position (supine) to standing position
    • From a lying position (supine), get to a 60 degree tilt
    • Breathing exercises
    • Hand grip exercises
  • Ice packs will be placed on your hands to measure blood pressure and heart rate changes
  • Electrodes will be attached to the palm of your hand and sole of your foot to record the potential of the skin sweat
  • When the tests are done, the blood pressure cuff and electrodes are removed. You can go home after.
  • A detailed report will be sent to your doctor within seven working days. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you at your next appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is the test safe?

The test is generally safe. The electrodes do not produce electrical discharges and do not cause pain. However, some people may find the ice packs uncomfortable. The neuro electrophysiologist will be with you throughout the process. If you feel unwell, tell the neuro electrophysiologist.

Can I undergo the test if I am feeling unwell?

No. If you are feeling unwell e.g. fever, cough, do not proceed with the test. Call to reschedule your appointment.


Have questions or concerns? Call:

Tel: 6330 6363

Office Hours:
8.00am – 5.30pm, Mon – Wed, Fri
8.00am – 5.00pm, Thurs
Closed on Sat, Sun, Public Holidays

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The information is correct as of July 2021 and subject to revisions without notice.