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Sympathetic skin response test in essential hypertensive patients



Essential hypertension is the most prevalent type of hypertension, affecting 90–95% of hypertensive patients. Although no direct cause has been identified, there are many factors such as overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system.


To study the predictive value of the sympathetic skin response (SSR) test to determine the role of sympathetic overactivity in essential hypertensive patients.


The study was carried out on 30 essential hypertensive patients and 15 normal controls who were similar in terms of age and sex. Thorough history taking, neurological and cardiological examination, and the neurophysiological technique (SSR) test were performed in both the groups.


Three patients were found to have an upper limb latency less than 1.2 ms, which was faster than the fastest upper limb SSR in the controls, and two patients were found to have a lower limb latency less than 1.9 ms, which was faster than the fastest lower limb SSR in the controls. However, there was no statistically significant difference between the patient and the control groups in terms of the mean SSR latencies and amplitudes in the upper and lower limbs.


Although SSR has a low diagnostic value in patients with essential hypertension, it might be a good diagnostic test particularly in the presence of signs and symptoms of sympathetic overactivity such as tachycardia and sweating.


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Correspondence to Ann Abdel Kader MD.

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Kader, A.A., Farouk, A., Fathy, S. et al. Sympathetic skin response test in essential hypertensive patients. Egypt J Intern Med 24, 12–16 (2012).

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