Conclusion: Subjectivity seems to play a definite role in the interpretation of the pendular test, but somewhat less for caloric testing, where pure visual analysis seems to be more reliable. Automated values provided by proof-tested software may be useful.
Objectives: In some centers, the interpretation of videonystagmography is still based on direct visual analysis of recorded tracings. Our study addresses the importance of subjectivity in the interpretation of videonystagmographic readings.
Patients and methods: Two experts (one junior and the other senior) were asked to interpret the same caloric and pendular tests on two different occasions, 3 months apart. Initial reading was performed without knowledge of the patient's history or the results of other neuro-otological tests. Three months later, interpretations were done with complete access to the patient's charts. The experts' answers were compared to the values provided by the computer software.
Results: For the pendular test, inter-expert agreement was poor. With knowledge of the patient's history, the expert's interpretations tended to coincide with the software's calculations. For the caloric test, interpretation was less variable.