RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., INTRAMURAL
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The first demonstration that a subset of women with hyperemesis gravidarum has abnormalities in the vestibuloocular reflex pathway.

OBJECTIVE: The vestibular system is a major pathway to nausea and vomiting, and the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) is a central component; its function can be studied using the vestibular autorotation test (VAT). We hypothesize that women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) may have VOR abnormalities.

STUDY DESIGN: Women with HG were compared with women without HG using the VAT. Horizontal and vertical VOR gains and phases were evaluated at 3 frequency ranges: low (2.0 to 3.5 Hz), medium (greater than 3.5 to 5.0 Hz), and high (greater than 5.0 to 6.0 Hz) during pregnancy and postpartum.

RESULTS: Twenty women with HG and 48 unaffected women were evaluated in early pregnancy. Women with HG had higher horizontal gains at all 3 frequency ranges. Horizontal phase differences were also observed at medium frequencies. No VAT differences were noted postpartum.

CONCLUSION: Women experiencing HG had a higher mean VOR horizontal gain and lower horizontal phase when compared with unaffected women.

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