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Autonomic Nervous System Testing


The Company reserves the right to reimburse only those services that are furnished in the most appropriate and cost-effective setting that is appropriate to the member’s medical needs and condition.


Autonomic nervous system (ANS) testing is considered medically necessary and, therefore, covered when either of the following indications is met:
  • ANS testing is being used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate symptoms indicative of vasomotor instability (e.g., hypotension, postural tachycardia, hyperhidrosis) after more common causes have been excluded by other testing.
  • ANS testing is contributing to clinical decision-making for any of the following indications:
    • To evaluate the severity and distribution of a diagnosed progressive autonomic neuropathy
    • To differentiate the diagnosis between certain complicated variants of syncope from other causes of loss of consciousness
    • To evaluate inadequate response to beta blockade in vasovagal syncope
    • To evaluate distressing symptoms suggestive of distal small fiber neuropathy
    • To differentiate the cause of postural tachycardia syndrome
    • To evaluate change in type, distribution, or severity of autonomic deficits in individuals with autonomic failure
    • To evaluate the response to treatment in individuals with autonomic failure who demonstrate a change in clinical exam
    • To diagnose axonal neuropathy or suspected autonomic neuropathy
    • To evaluate and treat individuals with recurrent unexplained syncope to demonstrate autonomic failure after more common causes have been excluded by other standard testing
    • To evaluate level of autonomic system dysfunction in distal symmetric polyneuropathy of diabetes when other standard testing yields inconclusive or atypical test results, including:
      • Greater motor than sensory nerve involvement
      • Asymmetry
      • Rapid progression of polyneuropathy
    • To diagnose cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy of diabetes and determine its severity and distribution

ANS testing is considered not medically necessary and, therefore, not covered for any of the following indications:
  • Screening of individuals who are without signs or symptoms of autonomic dysfunction, including individuals with diabetes, hepatic disease, or renal disease
  • Testing for the sole purpose of monitoring disease intensity or treatment efficacy in individuals with diabetes, hepatic disease, or renal disease
  • Testing when the results will not be used for clinical decision-making and management of an individual
  • Testing for the diagnosis of acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN)

Testing performed by professional providers who are not trained and are without the expertise to perform and interpret these tests is not covered.

ANS testing using devices such as SUDOSCAN or “ESC” (electrochemical skin conductance), ANSAR ANX 3.0, and similar devices do not meet the definition of CPT code 95923 in that the subject preparation, environmental requirements, and specially trained medical personnel requirements are not met. Therefore, they are not covered and, therefore, not eligible for reimbursement consideration.


ANS testing using SUDOSCAN, ESC, ANSAR ANX 3.0, and similar devices do not meet the definition of CPT code 95923 in that the subject preparation, environmental requirements, and specially trained medical personnel requirements are not met.

Inclusion of a code in this policy does not imply reimbursement. Eligibility, benefits, limitations, exclusions, precertification/referral requirements, provider contracts, and Company policies apply.


The individual's medical record must reflect the medical necessity for the care provided. These medical records may include, but are not limited to: records from the professional provider's office, hospital, nursing home, home health agencies, therapies, and test reports.

The Company may conduct reviews and audits of services to our members, regardless of the participation status of the provider. All documentation is to be available to the Company upon request. Failure to produce the requested information may result in a denial for the service.


Most autonomic nervous system (ANS) testing is performed in a laboratory with formal diagnostic testing for clinical diagnosis of an ANS disorder.

Testing may be appropriate to monitor disease progression when there is a change in the individual's clinical status, or to evaluate the individual's response to a specific treatment for an autonomic disorder.

Frequency of testing depends on changes in clinical status or response to intervention.

This policy is consistent with Medicare's coverage determination. The Company's payment methodology may differ from Medicare.


Subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable Evidence of Coverage, ANS testing is covered under the medical benefits of Company’s Medicare Advantage products when medical necessity criteria in the medical policy are met.

However, services that are identified in this policy as not medically necessary and not covered are not eligible for coverage or reimbursement by the Company.


The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a complex neural regulatory network that controls involuntary visceral actions. The ANS regulates physiologic processes, such as blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, digestion, metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, sweating, urination, defecation, sexual response, and other processes. Regulation occurs without conscious control, i.e., autonomously. The ANS is subdivided into two systems, the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems, that work together to maintain equilibrium of physiologic processes within the body.

The parasympathetic nervous system controls the physiological processes that control and store energy, often called the "rest and digest" system. The parasympathetic system, which is primarily involved with catabolic processes, conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, increases splanchnic circulation, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. As a counterbalance, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for arousal, and is known as the "fight-or-flight" response. Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system results in an increase in pulse and blood pressure, increased sweating, decreased gastrointestinal motility, increased synthesis of important metabolic products for energy expenditure, and increase in glandular exocrine secretions. It also causes sweaty palms, and less immediate life-preserving functions (e.g., digestion, renal filtration) are decreased.

Disorders of the ANS can affect any system of the body. They can originate in the peripheral or central nervous system and may be primary or secondary to other disorders. Symptoms suggesting autonomic dysfunction include orthostatic hypotension, heat intolerance, nausea, constipation, urinary retention or incontinence, nocturia, impotence, and dry mucous membranes. If an individual has symptoms suggesting autonomic dysfunction, cardiovagal, adrenergic, and sudomotor tests are usually done to help determine severity and distribution of the dysfunction.

Drugs can have substantial effects on the results of ANS testing and are a common cause of falsely abnormal results. Individuals should refrain from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 3 hours prior to testing. All medications with adrenergic and anticholinergic properties need to be discontinued at least 48 hours prior to the study. These would include, but are not limited to, the following drugs: chlorpromazine, thioridazine, the tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, bupropion, mirtazapine, venlafaxine, clonidine, alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, opiates, topical capsaicin, and diphenhydramine.

ANS testing consists of a battery of tests intended to evaluate the integrity and function of the ANS. As most of the ANS is inaccessible to testing, the available tests are measures of end-organ response rather than direct measures of ANS function. The aim of such testing is to correlate signs and symptoms of possible autonomic dysfunction with objective measurement in a way that is clinically useful. There are numerous individual tests of ANS function, and a combination of them is typically used in ANS testing. ANS testing can be grouped into three general categories:

Cardiovagal innervation: Provides a standardized quantitative evaluation of vagal innervation to parasympathetic function of the heart. Responses are based on the interpretation of changes in continuous heart recordings in response to standardized maneuvers and include heart rate (HR) response to deep breathing, Valsalva ratio, and 30:15 ratio heart rate responses to standing. Reduced, or absent, heart rate variability is a sign of autonomic dysfunction.
  • Heart rate response to deep breathing: The most widely used test, and considered by some as the optimal test, of cardiovagal function. This test measures the maximal HR variability during deep breathing (six breaths/min) in the laboratory setting, where the confounding variables of age, rate, and depth of respiration are controlled.
  • Valsalva ratio: This test measures the ratio derived from the maximal HR generated by the Valsalva maneuver divided by the lowest HR following the maneuver.
  • Heart rate response to standing: This index of cardiovagal function measures the normal tachycardia and bradycardia associated with proper baroreflex function while moving from sitting to standing. The test provides information to calculate the 30:15 ratio (R-R interval at beat 30)/(R-R interval at beat 15).
Vasomotor adrenergic innervation: Evaluates adrenergic sympathetic innervation of the circulation and of the heart in autonomic failure. The following tests are included: beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP) and R-R interval response to Valsalva maneuver, BP and HR response to active standing, tilt table testing, and sustained hand grip.
  • Beat-to-beat BP recordings of the Valsalva maneuver: This test records blood pressure changes in response to the different stages of the Valsalva maneuver, for comparison to age- and sex-standardized values.
  • BP and HR response to standing: This test is a recording of BP change when the patient shifts from supine to standing position, for comparison to age- and sex-standardized values.
  • Tilt-table testing: This test evaluates for orthostatic intolerance. The patient lies on the table and is strapped in with a foot rest. The table is then inclined to the upright position, with monitoring of the pulse and BP. Symptoms of lightheadedness or syncope in conjunction with changes in pulse or BP constitute a positive test. A provocative medication, such as isoproterenol, can be given to increase the sensitivity of the test.
  • Sustained hand grip: This test measures blood pressure response to sustained handgrip, in which continual muscle contraction causes a rise in systolic and diastolic BP and HR. Efferent fibers travel to the muscle and heart, resulting in increased cardiac output, BP, and HR. Abnormal values indicate sympathetic damage.
Sudomotor function testing: Evaluates and documents neuropathic disturbances that may be associated with pain. The quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test (QSART), thermoregulatory sweat test (TST), sympathetic skin responses, and silastic sweat imprints are tests of sympathetic cholinergic sudomotor function.
  • QSART: This test measures axon reflex-mediated sudomotor responses quantitatively and evaluates postganglionic sudomotor function. Recording is usually carried out from the forearm and three lower-extremity skin sites to assess the distribution of postganglionic deficits.
  • TST: This test evaluates the distribution of sweating by a change in color of an indicator powder. This test has a high sensitivity, and its specificity for delineating the site of lesion is greatly enhanced when used in conjunction with QSART. Sweat imprints are formed by the secretion of active sweat glands into a plastic (silastic) imprint. The test can determine sweat gland density, a histogram of sweat droplet size, and sweat volume per area.
  • Sympathetic skin response tests: These tests use an electric current to stimulate sympathetic nerves in order to measure the change in electrical resistance, which is altered in the presence of sweat.
  • Silastic sweat imprints: This test is used to determine sweat gland density, sweat droplet size, and sweat volume per area. Silicone-based plastic material is placed on the skin, and the droplets from active sweat glands form indentations on the surface, allowing quantitation of the degree of sweating present.

Several ANS testing devices have been cleared for marketing since 1976. The ANSAR ANX 3.0 is a noninvasive, real-time digital autonomic nervous system monitor. The ANSAR ANX 3.0 received FDA approval in 2004, and is being promoted as a device that measures both branches of the ANS (the sympathetic and the parasympathetic) independently and simultaneously in real-time. The ANSAR ANX 3.0 performs respiratory-based digital testing of the ANS and heart rate variability measurements.

Another device, SUDOSCAN or electrochemical skin conductance (ESC) test, consists of two sets of large-area stainless steel electrodes for the hands and feet that are connected to a computer for recording and for data-management purposes. SUDOSCAN, cleared for marketing in 2010, is a noninvasive device being marketed for the early detection of small nerve fibers and to help define and monitor a treatment to improve and control complications such as peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by type 2 diabetes.

Devices such as ANSAR ANX 3.0, SUDOSCAN, and similar devices are being used for screening purposes and do not require special preparation of the individual or specially trained medical personnel to operate. Using automated devices, with interpretation of the results by computer software, has not been validated and has the potential for invalid results.


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CPT Procedure Code Number(s)

95921, 95922, 95923, 95924





ICD - 10 Procedure Code Number(s)

ICD - 10 Diagnosis Code Number(s)


A52.15 Late syphilitic neuropathy
E08.40Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified
E08.41Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic mononeuropathy
E08.42Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic polyneuropathy
E08.43Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy
E08.44Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic amyotrophy
E08.49Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with other diabetic neurological complication
E08.610Diabetes mellitus due to underlying condition with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy
E09.40Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified
E09.41Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with diabetic mononeuropathy
E09.42Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with diabetic polyneuropathy
E09.43Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy
E09.44Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with diabetic amyotrophy
E09.49Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with neurological complications with other diabetic neurological complication
E09.610Drug or chemical induced diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy
E10.40Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified
E10.41Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic mononeuropathy
E10.42Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic polyneuropathy
E10.43Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy
E10.44Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic amyotrophy
E10.49Type 1 diabetes mellitus with other diabetic neurological complication
E10.610Type 1 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy
E11.40Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified
E11.41 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic mononeuropathy
E11.42 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic polyneuropathy
E11.43 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy
E11.44 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic amyotrophy
E11.49 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with other diabetic neurological complication
E11.610Type 2 diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy
E13.40 Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy, unspecified
E13.41 Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic mononeuropathy
E13.42 Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic polyneuropathy
E13.43 Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic autonomic (poly)neuropathy
E13.44 Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic amyotrophy
E13.49 Other specified diabetes mellitus with other diabetic neurological complication
E13.610Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy
E85.0 Non-neuropathic heredofamilial amyloidosis
E85.1 Neuropathic heredofamilial amyloidosis
E85.3 Secondary systemic amyloidosis
E85.4 Organ-limited amyloidosis
E85.81 Light chain (AL) amyloidosis
E85.82 Wild-type transthyretin-related (ATTR) amyloidosis
E85.89 Other amyloidosis
G12.23 Primary lateral sclerosis
G12.24 Familial motor neuron disease
G12.25 Progressive spinal muscle atrophy
G13.0 Paraneoplastic neuromyopathy and neuropathy
G13.1 Other systemic atrophy primarily affecting central nervous system in neoplastic disease
G23.0 Hallervorden-Spatz disease
G23.1 Progressive supranuclear ophthalmoplegia [Steele-Richardson-Olszewski]
G23.2 Striatonigral degeneration
G23.8 Other specified degenerative diseases of basal ganglia
G23.9 Degenerative disease of basal ganglia, unspecified
G56.83Other specified mononeuropathies of bilateral upper limbs
G56.93Unspecified mononeuropathy of bilateral upper limbs
G57.83Other specified mononeuropathies of bilateral lower limbs
G57.93Unspecified mononeuropathy of bilateral lower limbs
G58.0 Intercostal neuropathy
G60.2 Neuropathy in association with hereditary ataxia
G60.3 Idiopathic progressive neuropathy
G60.8 Other hereditary and idiopathic neuropathies
G60.9 Hereditary and idiopathic neuropathy, unspecified
G61.1 Serum neuropathy 
G61.82 Multifocal motor neuropathy
G62.9 Polyneuropathy, unspecified
G90.01Carotid sinus syncope
G90.09 Other idiopathic peripheral autonomic neuropathy
G90.3 Multi-system degeneration of the autonomic nervous system
G90.4 Autonomic dysreflexia
G90.50 Complex regional pain syndrome I, unspecified
G90.511Complex regional pain syndrome I of right upper limb
G90.512Complex regional pain syndrome I of left upper limb
G90.513Complex regional pain syndrome I of upper limb, bilateral
G90.519Complex regional pain syndrome I of unspecified upper limb
G90.521Complex regional pain syndrome I of right lower limb
G90.522Complex regional pain syndrome I of left lower limb
G90.523Complex regional pain syndrome I of lower limb, bilateral
G90.529Complex regional pain syndrome I of unspecified lower limb
G90.59 Complex regional pain syndrome I of other specified site
G90.8 Other disorders of autonomic nervous system
G90.9 Disorder of the autonomic nervous system, unspecified
​Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome [POTS]
G99.0 Autonomic neuropathy in diseases classified elsewhere
I95.0 Idiopathic hypotension
I95.1 Orthostatic hypotension
I95.89 Other hypotension
I95.9 Hypotension, unspecified
L74.510Primary focal hyperhidrosis, axilla
L74.511Primary focal hyperhidrosis, face
L74.512Primary focal hyperhidrosis, palms
L74.513Primary focal hyperhidrosis, soles
L74.519Primary focal hyperhidrosis, unspecified
L74.52 Secondary focal hyperhidrosis​
R00.0 Tachycardia, unspecified
R55   Syncope and collapse
R61   G​eneralized hyperhidrosis​

HCPCS Level II Code Number(s)

Revenue Code Number(s)

Coding and Billing Requirements

Policy History

Medical Policy Bulletin
Medicare Advantage