PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A biomarker point-of-care (POC) test that supplements the psychiatric interview and improves detection of patients at risk for suicide would be of value, and assays of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity would satisfy the logistical requirements for a POC test. We performed a selective review of the available literature of ANS assays related to risk for suicide.
RECENT FINDINGS: We searched PubMed and Web of Science with the strategy: "suicide OR suicidal" AND "electrodermal OR heart rate variability OR pupillometry OR pupillography." The search produced 119 items, 21 of which provided original data regarding ANS methods and suicide. These 21 studies included 6 for electrodermal activity, 14 for heart rate variability, and 1 for the pupillary light reflex. The 21 papers showed associations between ANS assays and suicide risk in a direction suggesting underlying hyperarousal in patients at risk for suicide. ANS assays show promise for future development as POC tests to supplement clinical decision making in estimating risk for suicide.