VESTIBULAR TESTING -- WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR ?
Timothy C. Hain, MD
Page last modified:
December 28, 2014
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- Vestibular tests are tests of function. Their purpose is to determine if
there is something wrong with the vestibular portion of the inner ear. If
dizziness is not caused by the inner ear, it might be caused by disorders
of the brain, by medical disorders such as low
blood pressure, or by psychological problems such as anxiety. Recent studies
have suggested that vestibular tests are more accurate than clinical examination
in identifying inner ear disorders (Gordon et al, 1996). Hearing pathway tests
(audiometry, ABR, ECochG)
can also be used for the same purpose, and are frequently combined with vestibular
tests. In a cost-effectiveness analysis for evaluation for vertigo it was
concluded that hearing testing followed by either posturography
or ENG (electronystagmography) was the most effective
method (Stewart et al, 1999).
- To detect central disorders. Recent studies have suggested that internuclear
ophthalmoplegia, a central eye movement disorder, is missed by 71% of physicians
unaided by quantitative oculomotor testing (Frohman et al, 2003).
- To decide if more expensive tests like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
are needed. Vestibular testing is more accurate than clinical symptoms in
predicting whether neuroimaging tests will be abnormal.(Levy and Arts, 1996). Simple vestibular tests are more effective than MRI at detecting strokes that cause dizziness.
- To document objectively vestibular conditions such as
BPPV and Perilymph fistula,
which commonly occur after head injury, vestibular
neuritis, and Gentamicin ototoxicity,
which commonly is a side effect of medication.
April 21, 2015
, Timothy C. Hain, M.D.
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April 21, 2015