How is multiple system atrophy (MSA) characterized relative to autonomic failure?

Updated: Oct 21, 2018
  • Author: Mohini Gurme, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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MSA is a progressive, adult-onset disorder characterized by a combination of autonomic dysfunction, parkinsonism, and ataxia. Numerous accounts of the disorder were recorded throughout the 20th century under different labels such as olivopontocerebellar atrophy, striatonigral degeneration, or Shy-Drager syndrome. MSA with prominent autonomic abnormalities is still sometimes referred to as Shy-Drager syndrome. The disparate clinical presentations were not widely recognized as being histopathologically related until 1989. Today the dominant clinical features provide the basis for further classification of MSA into parkinsonian, and cerebellar variants.

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