[Air conducted ocular VEMP: II. First clinical investigations]

L E Walther, H Schaaf, D Sommer, K Hörmann
Laryngo- Rhino- Otologie 2011, 90 (10): 596-603

BACKGROUND: Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) are widely used to assess vestibular function. Air conducted (AC) cervical VEMP (cVEMP) reflect sacculus and inferior vestibular nerve function. Ocular VEMP (oVEMP) however has been hardly examined up to now. In recent studies it has been assumed that AC oVEMP probably reflects superior vestibular nerve function. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate clinical application of the AC oVEMP.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: AC oVEMP were recorded in patients with peripheral vestibular disorders (n=21). In addition thermal irritation and head impulse test were performed and AC cVEMP were recorded. For intense AC-sound stimulation tone bursts (500 Hz) with 100 dB nHL were used.

RESULTS: In peripheral vestibular disorders AC oVEMP and AC cVEMP could be classified into: • type 1 (inferior vestibular neuritis) with loss of AC oVEMP but normal AC cVEMP, • type 2, probable type of superior vestibular neuritis, showing present AC cVEMP but loss of AC oVEMP, • type 3, probable complete vestibular neuritis, without AC oVEMP and AC cVEMP.

CONCLUSIONS: AC oVEMP may be used as an appropriate test for clinical investigation in patients with vestibular disorders. AC oVEMP is an additional, essential test for assessing otolith function beside AC cVEMP. Further vestibular test are necessary for precise clinical interpretation.

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