★ MORE ANSWERS ONLINE Alexandru Barboi, MD, answers questions about autonomic disorders on Healthy You , NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, at northshore.org/r14 . With a passion for painting and sketching, high school senior Sarah Lisitza is on new medication to help manage symptoms of dysautonomia—a malfunction of her autonomic nervous system. UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY NorthShore Specialist Identiﬁ es Complex Disorder, Validated by Mayo Clinic By Susan J. White y all accounts, Sarah Lisitza of Skokie is a good student and aspiring artist, with no history of medical issues. So it was surprising when the teen’s health took a serious downturn beginning last January, the second semester of her junior year at Niles North High School. SUDDEN SYMPTOMS Sarah began experiencing severe headaches, lightheadedness and hand tremors. She was in the school nurse’s offi ce as often as three times a week, recalled her mom, Elaine Lisitza. Understandably, the family grew increasingly worried about 18-year-old Sarah’s health. Could it be stress-related or something more serious? 10 CONNECTIONS FALL 2017 “There was a suggestion that it could be an xiet y, but in my hear t, I knew that wasn’t the case,” explained Lisitza. “I know my daughter.” Sarah’s symptoms continued to worsen with daily bouts of nausea. Concerned about the teen’s sudden, rapid weight loss, her pediatrician referred her to NorthShore Pediatric Gastroenterologist Vincent Biank, MD, for specialized gastrointestinal care. “I did a comprehensive workup on Sarah, with a range of lab tests and procedures including upper and lower endoscopy, all of which came back perfectly normal,” explained Dr. Biank, who holds an academic title at the Pritzker School of Medicine. “Clearly, there was something else going on.” DIGGING DEEPER Dr. Biank suspected that Sarah’s condition might be caused by an issue with her autonomic nervous system (ANS) and recommended that she undergo specialized autonomic testing. The ANS controls numerous involuntary body functions including heart rate, digestion, perspiration and swallowing. Taking advantage of NorthShore’s ongoing collaboration with Mayo Clinic, Dr. Biank reviewed Sarah’s complex ca se w ith M ay o Clinic Pediatr ic Gastroenterologist Mark Bartlett, MD. Dr. Bartlett’s second opinion conﬁ rmed Dr. Biank’s recommendation for autonomic testing, providing the family with added conﬁ dence that they were on the right track.