Test-retest reliability and age-related characteristics of the ocular and cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential tests

Kimanh D Nguyen, Miriam S Welgampola, John P Carey
Otology & Neurotology 2010, 31 (5): 793-802

OBJECTIVE: To determine the test-retest reliability and age-related trends of the cervical and ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP and oVEMP, respectively) responses to air-conducted sound and bone-conducted vibration stimulation.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center.

PATIENTS: Fifty-three healthy adults with no hearing or vestibular deficits.

INTERVENTION(S): All subjects underwent cVEMP and oVEMP testing in response to sounds (0.1-ms clicks and 500-Hz tone bursts) and vibration (midline forehead taps at the hairline, Fz, with a reflex hammer and a Brüel & Kjaer Mini-Shaker Type 4810). Twelve subjects underwent an additional testing session that was conducted at a mean of 10 weeks after the first one.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Test-retest reliability for VEMP response parameters (latency, peak-to-peak amplitude, and asymmetry ratio) were assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS: : oVEMP amplitudes had excellent test-retest reliability (ICC > 0.75) for all 4 stimuli; cVEMP amplitudes had excellent reliability for hammer taps and fair-to-good reliability for other stimuli. oVEMP asymmetry ratios had excellent reliability for clicks and fair-to-good reliability (ICC = 0.4-0.75) for other stimuli; cVEMP asymmetry ratios had fair-to-good reliability for clicks and hammer taps. Older subjects (>50 years old) were found to have significantly decreased cVEMP amplitudes in response to clicks, tones, and taps with a Mini-Shaker and significantly decreased oVEMP amplitudes in response to clicks, tones, and taps with a reflex hammer. No age-related changes were found for latencies or asymmetry ratios.

CONCLUSION: Overall, oVEMP response parameters demonstrated better test-retest reliability than cVEMP response parameters, but oVEMPs and cVEMPs had similar age-related changes.

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