Isolated floccular infarction: impaired vestibular responses to horizontal head impulse

J Neurol. 2013 Jun;260(6):1576-82. doi: 10.1007/s00415-013-6837-y. Epub 2013 Jan 31.


Isolated floccular infarction is extremely rare, and impairments of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) have not been explored in humans with isolated floccular lesions. The purpose of this study was to examine and report selective impairment of VOR in response to high acceleration using head impulse in a patient with isolated floccular infarction. The patient underwent bedside and laboratory evaluation of vestibular function, which included video-oculography, ocular torsion and the subjective visual vertical, cervical and ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials, bithermal caloric irrigation, rotatory chair test, and the head impulse test (HIT) using search coils. A 70-year-old woman with a unilateral floccular infarction presented with an acute vestibular syndrome with spontaneous nystagmus beating to the lesion side, impaired ipsilesional pursuit, contraversive ocular torsion and tilt of the subjective visual vertical. With rotatory chair testing at low frequencies, horizontal VOR gains were increased. However, VOR gains were decreased with the higher-frequency, higher-speed HIT. While HIT is often normal in patients with central vestibular disorders, decreased HIT responses do not exclude an isolated cerebellar lesion as a cause of the acute vestibular syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / epidemiology
  • Brain Infarction / complications
  • Brain Infarction / pathology
  • Brain Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / etiology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Vestibular Function Tests / methods*