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Variability in the Results of Vestibular Assessment in Patients with Genetically Confirmed Cerebellar Ataxia, Neuropathy, and Vestibular Areflexia Syndrome.

BACKGROUND: Cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, and vestibular areflexia syndrome (CANVAS) presents an unpredictable and uneven clinical development of cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, and vestibular areflexia. The aim of this study is to report the variability of vestibular test results in genetically confirmed patients with cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, and vestibular areflexia syndrome.

METHODS: Caloric testing, video head impulse test (vHIT), and rotatory chair testing were performed in 7 patients who presented pathogenic repeat expansions in the replication factor complex unit 1 gene related to cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, and vestibular areflexia syndrome.

RESULTS: Reduced vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) gain was observed in 100% of the patients in rotatory chair testing. Three of them had bilateral areflexia in caloric testing while 2 showed unilateral hypofunction and 2 had no alterations in the test. Only 1 patient had bilateral abnormal vHIT with gains under 0.6 in both ears.

CONCLUSION: Genetic testing allows an early diagnosis of cerebellar ataxia, neuropathy, and vestibular areflexia syndrome, whereby the vestibular system may be affected to different degrees. Rotatory chair testing has a higher sensitivity for the detection of vestibular hypofunction in these patients. Caloric testing can provide additional information. vHIT might underdiagnose patients with mild-to-moderate vestibulopathy.

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