Hyperhidrosis as a reflection of autonomic failure in patients with acute hemispheral brain infarction. An evaporimetric study.
Sweating dysfunction is one of the most frequently encountered symptoms of autonomic failure but has received scant attention in patients with cerebrovascular diseases. Our purpose was to evaluate the prevalence, pathogenesis, and clinical correlates of sweating dysfunction in stroke.
We studied sweating at baseline and after a heating stimulus in 53 patients with acute hemispheral brain infarction and in 40 healthy control subjects by using a quantitative evaporimetric method.
Significant hyperhidrosis on the paretic side of the body was verified in 55% of the patients at baseline, in 74% after 5 minutes of heating, and in 77% after 10 minutes of heating. Hyperhidrosis was established throughout the body and correlated with the severity of paresis, the presence of reduced muscle tone, and the extensor plantar response.
The phenomenon of hyperhidrosis in hemiparetic patients reflecting autonomic dysfunction seems to be a common manifestation that should be listed among the expected consequences of brain infarction. This sweating disturbance might be attributed to a lesion of a putative sympathoinhibitory pathway controlling sweating. The failure of this pathway could also be related to other manifestations of sympathetic hyperfunction, e.g., cardiac complications. Therefore, assessment of sweating may provide a new, important aspect in the evaluation of stroke patients.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association