[Skull vibratory test in partial vestibular lesions—influence of the stimulus frequency on the nystagmus direction]

G Dumas, P Perrin, N Morel, D Q N'Guyen, S Schmerber
Revue de Laryngologie—Otologie—Rhinologie 2005, 126 (4): 235-42

INTRODUCTION: Results of the skull vibratory test (SVT) in partial unilateral vestibular peripheral lesions (PUVL) are different from the results in total vestibular lesions (TUVL).

AIM: To reveal a correlation between the results of the analysis of the skull vibratory nystagmus (SVN) horizontal component and the side of the lesion; to correlate these results with the stimulus frequency. To find out a predictive correlation between the SVN horizontal and vertical components and the topography of a vestibular lesion. To appreciate the degree of vestibular deafferentation (extended to high frequencies) provoked by gentamicin labyrinthectomy and its efficiency in Meniere's disease.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 53 patients with a SVN and a PUVL were included and compared with 10 TUVL and 10 normal subjects. Protocol included a HST (2 Hz), a SVT at 30, 60 and 100 Hz and a caloric test. Recordings were performed with a 2D and 3D VNG device.

RESULTS: In PUVL, SVN at 30, 60 and 100 Hz was obtained in 80, 90 and 90% of cases respectively. SVN is correlated with the side of the lesion at 30, 60 and 100 Hz respectively in 65%, 63%, 80% of cases. SVN is not correlated with the side of the lesion in 20% of Meniere's disease, in 8% of vestibular neuritis and in 6% of vestibular schwannoma. In PUVL HSN is correlated with the side of the lesion in 69% of cases. The direction of the HSN and of the SVN was different in 23% when the nystagmus attended at the same time for both tests. In PUVL the direction of the SVN is different at 100 Hz and 30 Hz in 16% of cases when they are concomittant on the same patient. After Gentamicine labyrinthectomy, the coherence of the results in caloric test, HSN and SVN (areflexy and lesional nystagmus beating toward the safe side) was correlated with the efficiency of the therapy. A SVN vertical component was met in 10% of PUVL (essentially in anterior canal dehiscence and few cases of partial labyrinthitis). The horizontal SVN SPV is significantly slower in PUVL than in TUVL patients (p=0.0004).

CONCLUSIONS: The SVT is a vestibular global and rapid test which explores high frequencies. In PUVL the direction of SVN is not always predictive of the side of the lesion and is sometimes depending on the stimulus frequency, the state of the vestibular lesion, the vestibular structure concerned (1/2 circular canals or otolithic organs) and the kind of sensory cells implicated in the lesion. In TUVL The direction of the SVN is always coherent with the side of the lesion (this is useful to predict the efficiency of a Gentamicine Labyrinthectomy). A SVN vertical component can mean a lesion of the vertical canal in PUVL.

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