The Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology and Related Treatments of the Autonomic System
This May, over 100 clinicians, researchers and patients came together for a daylong conference on dysautonomia: the anatomy, physiology, pathology and related treatments of the autonomic system.
Dysautonomia is not a single disorder but rather a broad term that describes multiple conditions resulting from failure of the autonomic nervous system. This section of the nervous system controls automatic body functions, like heart rate, sweating, bowel motility and breathing. There are at least 15 distinct dysautonomias; the most common are neurocardiogenic syncope and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
Dysautonomia affects an estimated 70 million people worldwide, yet takes most patients years to get diagnosed due to a lack of awareness within the medical community and general public. Dysautonomia affects all races and ages and currently has no cure. Dr. Christos Georgiades, Director of Interventional Oncology, is leading the charge at Johns Hopkins to build a multidisciplinary team to better assist these patients and their caregivers.
- Abnormal heart rate
- Digestion issues
- Dilation and constriction of the pupils of the eye
- Irregular kidney function
- Unstable blood pressure
- Temperature control issues like excessive sweating
Dr. Georgiades has found that in order to reach the patients that might be unaware of their dysautonomia, it’s vital to include clinicians from specialties such as cardiology, surgery, psychology, interventional radiology, vascular surgery, neurogastroenterology, gastroenterology, hepatology and neurology. During the inaugural conference, Hopkins experts were able to collaborate and present on the treatment and research of dysautonomia in their area of specialty as well as hear patient perspectives. Participants received contact information for Johns Hopkins Medicine physicians treating patients with disorders of the autonomic nervous system and resources on dysautonomia.
For more information on dysautonomia or how to join the multidisciplinary group, contact Dr. Christos Georgiades, M.D., Ph.D.
Kathleen H. Byrne, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., C.C.R.N.