Somatoform Autonomic Dysfunction: challenges and solusions

A literature review

Vaiva Gudžiūnaitė 1, Justina Palubinskienė1, Iveta Tiepelytė1

 1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical Academy, Faculty of Medicine 


Background. Somatoform autonomic dysfunction is a syndrome characterized by symptoms of dysfunction of organs belonging to the autonomic nervous system but no organic pathology has been identified that could explain the origin of the complaints. Symptoms are usually focused on vital organs, causing patients to experience not only severe physical discomfort, but also anxiety about their condition, making diagnosis and treatment complicated and challenging.

Aim: to evaluate the clinic, diagnosis and treatment options of somatoform autonomic dysfunction.

Methods: the review of the literature was conducted using the “Pubmed”, “ClinicalKey“, “Oxford academic“, “UpToDate” and “Cochrane Library” databases. The literature research was conducted using predetermined keywords like “Somatoform autonomic dysfunction“, “somatoform disorder“, “somatoform vegetative dysfunction”. Exclusion criteria were applied to articles related to somatization and hypochondrial disorders. More than 30 publications were analyzed.

Discussion. Suspicion of somatoform autonomic dysfunction requires special care, because the initial symptoms may mask organic pathology, but more important is to ensure a long-term physician and patient relation and collaboration, regular monitoring of condition and treatment effectiveness to avoid frequent relapses and finding the best long-term treatment.

Keywords: somatoform autonomic dysfunction, vegetodystonia, vegetative dysfunction, somatoform disorder.