Superior canal dehiscence reveals concomitant unilateral utricular loss (UUL)

Acta Otolaryngol. 2015 Jun;135(6):557-64. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2014.999877. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Conclusion: We report enhanced symmetrical cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP) but asymmetrical ocular VEMP (oVEMP) responses in a patient with CT-verified bilateral superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SCD) but with acute vestibular syndrome. This implies that absence of unilateral utricular macula function alone is sufficient to cause symptoms of acute vertigo. Acute vertigo should not automatically be presumed to originate from semicircular canal dysfunction.

Objectives: To identify the cause of an acute vertigo attack in a patient with bilateral SCD.

Methods: The functional state of all peripheral vestibular sense organs was tested using the video head impulse test (vHIT) for all semicircular canals and VEMPs to air-conducted sound (ACS) or bone-conducted vibration (BCV) to test all otolith organs. The cVEMP tested mainly saccular function and the oVEMP mainly utricular function.

Results: All semicircular canals showed normal function. The cVEMPs showed enhanced, but symmetrical saccular function. In contrast, oVEMPs showed an enhanced but asymmetric n10 component - it was greatly reduced beneath the left eye, implying decreased function in the right utricular macula. That result was confirmed using very high frequency stimuli which are effective in SCD: 4000 Hz BCV stimuli showed that oVEMP n10 was present beneath the right eye but absent beneath the left eye.

Keywords: Ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential; VEMP; otolith; saccular; vestibular.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Maculae / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Semicircular Canals / physiology
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials