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Multiple system atrophy (MSA) with orthostatic hypotension

Other Names for this Disease
  • Multiple system atrophy with autonomic failure
  • Orthostatic hypotension, bladder and bowel incontinence, anhidrosis, iris atrophy, amyotrophy, ataxia, rigidity and tremor
  • Shy-Drager syndrome
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Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension is the current classification for a neurological disorder that was once called Shy-Drager syndrome. A progressive disorder of the central and autonomic nervous systems, it is characterized by orthostatic hypotension (an excessive drop in blood pressure when standing up) which causes dizziness or fainting. Multiple system atrophy can occur without orthostatic hypotension, but it is rare. Doctors classify the disorder into 3 types: the Parkinsonian-type includes symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as slow movement, stiff muscles, and tremor; the cerebellar-type, which causes problems with coordination and speech; and the combined-type, which includes symptoms of both parkinsonism and cerebellar failure.[1] The cause of multiple system atrophy is unknown, although environmental toxins, trauma, and genetic factors have been suggested.[2] There is no cure for this condition, and there is no known way to prevent the disease from getting worse. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.[3] 
Last updated: 10/7/2010


  1. NINDS Multiple System Atrophy with Orthostatic Hypotension Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 2007; Accessed 10/6/2010.
  2. Diedrich A, Robertson D. Multiple System Atrophy. eMedicine. 2010; Accessed 10/6/2010.
  3. Multiple system atrophy. MedlinePlus. 2008; Accessed 10/6/2010.
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