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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1991 Apr;26(4):361-6.

Disturbed autonomic nerve function in patients with Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Dept. of Medicine, University of Lund, Malmö General Hospital, Sweden.


Autonomic nerve function was evaluated in 33 patients with Crohn's disease (age range, 19-66 years; mean, 36 years) by three established non-invasive tests based on the heart reactions to deep breathing (E/I ratio) and to tilt (acceleration and brake indices). Peripheral nerve function was evaluated neurographically and by measuring thresholds to vibration and temperature changes. None of the patients were diabetic, and all had normal thyroid function. In spite of normal peripheral nerve function, almost half of the patients, 48% (16/33), showed signs of autonomic neuropathy (AN). The occurrence of AN was not related to duration or severity of Crohn's disease or to biochemical evidence of inflammation or malabsorption of vitamins and trace elements. We conclude that autonomic nerve dysfunction is a feature of Crohn's disease which may be relevant with regard to the frequent disturbance in bowel function in patients with this disorder.

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