1. The major drawback of the cardiovascular reflex tests used to study autonomic failure is the time involved in calculating the results. To overcome this disadvantage, we have developed an automated computerized program using a FINger Arterial PRESsure instrument for the measurement of beat-to-beat heart rate and blood pressure on a finger.
2. This program calculates heart rate variability during three standardized tests, forced breathing, standing up and the Valsalva manoeuvre, and records blood pressure values in response to standing up and sustained handgrip. The time taken to perform the test and to calculate the results is usually 25 min.
3. The reproducibility of the tests in 21 normal subjects was comparable with the reproducibility obtained with conventional test methods using an ECG and a sphygmomanometer.
4. In addition, we determined the age-dependent normal values of the seven test parameters in 124 subjects aged 20–90 years.
5. Using this program in 10 patients with longstanding (14–50 years) complicated diabetes, in each of them four or more abnormal test results were found.