Efficacy of cervical and ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials in evaluation of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo of posterior semicircular canal

Niraj Kumar Singh, Kumari Apeksha
European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology 2016, 273 (9): 2523-32
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) constitutes a major proportion of the population with peripheral vestibulopathies. Although the freely floating otoconia within the semicircular canals is responsible for the symptoms of BPPV, the source of the otoconia debris is mainly believed to be the otolith organs. Therefore, the pathology in either or both the otolith organs appears a logical proposition. Cervical and ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMP and oVEMP), being the tests for functional integrity of the otolith organs, appear promising for investigating otolith involvement in BPPV. While recent evidences are suggestive of equivocal findings for cVEMP, there are only a few studies on oVEMP. Additionally, both these potentials have never been explored in the same set of individuals with BPPV. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the functional integrity of the otolith organs through cVEMP and oVEMP in individuals with posterior canal BPPV. Thirty-one individuals with unilateral posterior canal BPPV and 31 age- and gender-matched healthy controls underwent 500 Hz tone-burst-evoked cVEMP and oVEMP. The results demonstrated no significant group difference on any of the cVEMP parameters (p > 0.05). A similar trend was noticed for the latency-related parameters of oVEMP. However, the peak-to-peak amplitude was significantly smaller in the affected ears of individuals with BPPV than their unaffected ears and the ears of healthy controls (p < 0.05). The BPPV group showed significantly higher inter-aural amplitude difference ratio than the healthy controls (p < 0.05). Further, the sensitivity and specificity of oVEMP were also found to be far superior to those of cVEMP. Thus, the outcome of the present study revealed involvement of utricle rather than saccule in posterior canal BPPV, and therefore, oVEMP appears to be better suited to clinical investigation than cVEMP in individuals with posterior canal BPPV.

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