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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2011 Apr;31(2):96-102.

Saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements in central vertigo.

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  • 1ENT Clinic, Head and Neck Department, Hospital of Cattinara, University of Trieste, Italy.


In order to analyze the diagnostic efficiency of saccadic and pursuit eye movements compared to findings from brain magnetic resonance imaging in patients with central vertigo, 108 patients were selected from 580 dizzy patients as cases of suspected central origin; the saccadic and pursuit eye movements were evaluated by electronystagmography and findings were compared to information from magnetic resonance imaging. The study of oculomotor movements in patients suspected of having a central lesion revealed a 83.3% sensitivity and 21.2% specificity. Restricting consideration to severe alterations in eye movements as indicative of a central origin, this test gives a 71.4% sensitivity and 50.0% specificity. In conclusion, the study of alterations in oculomotor movements, in patients with suspected central lesions, proved to be a test with good sensitivity also compared with results of magnetic resonance imaging.


Dizziness; Magnetic resonance imaging; Saccadic movements; Smooth pursuit; Vertigo

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