Vestibular function testing

Curr Opin Neurol. 2007 Feb;20(1):19-24. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3280140808.


Purpose of review: This review provides an overview of vestibular function testing and highlights the new techniques that have emerged during the past 5 years.

Recent findings: Since the introduction of video-oculography as an alternative to electro-oculography for the assessment of vestibular-induced eye movements, the investigation of the utricle has become a part of vestibular function testing, using unilateral centrifugation. Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials have become an important test for assessing saccular function, although further standardization and methodological issues remain to be clarified. Galvanic stimulation of the labyrinth also is an evolving test that may become useful diagnostically.

Summary: A basic vestibular function testing battery that includes ocular motor tests, caloric testing, positional testing, and earth-vertical axis rotational testing focuses on the horizontal semicircular canal. Newer methods to investigate the otolith organs are being developed. These new tests, when combined with standard testing, will provide a more comprehensive assessment of the complex vestibular organ.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electrodiagnosis / methods
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Oculomotor Muscles / innervation
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation / methods
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Vestibular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Vestibular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Function Tests / methods
  • Vestibular Function Tests / trends*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / anatomy & histology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*