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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Sep;271(9):2375-83. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2723-6. Epub 2013 Oct 6.

Relation of video-head-impulse test and caloric irrigation: a study on the recovery in unilateral vestibular neuritis.

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Department of Neurology, County Hospitals of Altötting and Burghausen, Vinzenz-von-Paul Str. 10, 84531, Altoetting, Germany.


The head-impulse test (HIT) is an important test for examining unilateral vestibular hypofunction. The new video-head-impulse test (vHIT) is more sensitive and specific than the clinical bedside-head-impulse test. Alternatively, one can test for vestibular hypofunction with the caloric irrigation test. Various studies have shown that both tests may not always identify vestibular hypofunction; instead, the results of the tests might be contradictory. To further explore the question, of whether vHIT and caloric irrigation test the same part of the angular horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), we examined patients with unilateral vestibular neuritis at different points in time. The tonic vestibular imbalance (e.g., subjective-visual-vertical, ocular torsion and spontaneous nystagmus) and dynamic dysfunction of VOR (vHIT and bithermal caloric irrigation) were measured and quantified. While parameters of the tonic vestibular imbalance were well described by single exponential decay functions, dynamic parameters were less well defined. Therefore, to better compare the time course of pairs of two different parameters, we used a linear regression analysis. No linear correlation was found in the group and individually for the gain asymmetry and the ipsilesional gain of the vHIT with the unilateral weakness of the bithermal caloric irrigation tests. Linear correlation was found for most parameters of tonic vestibular imbalance. These findings are further evidence that vHIT and caloric irrigation test different parts of the angular VOR.

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