JOURNAL ARTICLE

Subclinical vestibular dysfunction in migraine patients: a preliminary study of ocular and rectified cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials

Chul-Ho Kim, Min-Uk Jang, Hui-Chul Choi, Jong-Hee Sohn
Journal of Headache and Pain 2015, 16: 93
26527349

BACKGROUND: Many studies have identified various vestibular symptoms and laboratory abnormalities in migraineurs. Although the vestibular tests may be abnormal, the changes may exist without vestibular symptoms. To date, vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) has been the easiest and simplest test for measuring vestibular function in clinical practice. Cervical VEMP (cVEMP) represents a vestibulo-collic reflex, whereas ocular VEMP (oVEMP) reflects a vestibulo-ocular pathway. Therefore, we determined whether ocular and rectified cervical VEMPs differed in patients with migraine or tension type headache (TTH) and compared the results to controls with no accompanying vestibular symptoms.

METHODS: The present study included 38 females with migraine without aura, 30 with episodic TTH, and 50 healthy controls without vestibular symptoms. oVEMP and cVEMP using a blood pressure manometer were recorded during a headache-free period. From the VEMP graphs, latency and amplitude parameters were analyzed, especially following EMG rectification in cVEMP.

RESULTS: With respect to oVEMP, the migraine group exhibited significantly longer mean latencies of bilateral n1 and left p1 than the other groups (p < 0.05). Amplitudes of n1-p1 were lower than in other groups, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. In regards to cVEMP, p13 and n23 latencies and amplitudes after rectification did not differ significantly among groups.

CONCLUSIONS: An abnormal interictal oVEMP profile was associated with subclinical vestibular dysfunction in migraineurs, suggesting pathology within the vestibulo-ocular reflex. oVEMP is a more reliable measure than cVEMP to evaluate vestibular function in migraineurs, although results from the two tests in patients with migraine are complementary.

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