Results in caloric test, video head impulse test and inner ear MRI in patients with Ménière's disease

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2020 Feb;47(1):71-78. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2019.06.002. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


Objective: Our aim was to elucidate relationships between results from the caloric test (c-test), video Head Impulse Test (vHIT) and inner ear gadolinium-enhanced MRI (ieMRI) in patients with endolymphatic hydrops (EH), especially patients with Ménière's disease (MD).

Methods: We managed 1789 successive patients at the Vertigo/Dizziness Center in Nara Medical University from May 2014 to December 2018. After providing informed consent for vertigo/dizziness examinations, 281 patients were hospitalized to check their inner ear function for proper diagnosis and treatment. Then 76 participants underwent the c-test, vHIT and ieMRI. Among these 76 cases, 20 were diagnosed with MD (20/76; 26.3%) and 56 were non-MD (56/76; 73.7%) according to the 2015 diagnostic guideline of the International Classification of Vestibular Disorders. The MD group included 15 unilateral and 5 bilateral cases. The non-MD group included 22 benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, 10 vestibular neuritis, 8 sudden deafness with vertigo, 6 orthostatic dysregulation, 4 vestibular neuropathy and 6 others. Results in these examinations in the side of an active lesioned inner ear were representative in each peripheral case.

Results: Twenty-nine of the 76 patients (38.1%) showed discrepant results between the c-test (outside of normal range) and vHIT (within normal range). Twenty-two of 76 patients (28.9%) had a positive EH sign on ieMRI. The c-test/vHIT discrepancy percentage in MD (14/20; 70.0%) was significantly higher than that in non-MD (15/56; 26.8%) (p=0.00179). The positive EH sign in ieMRI percentage in MD (15/20; 75.0%) was significantly higher than that in non-MD (7/56; 12.5%) (p=0.0015). There was a significant positive relationship between the c-test/vHIT discrepancy and the positive EH sign (p=0.00058) in all 76 cases combined. However, there was no significant relationship between c-test/vHIT discrepancy and positive EH sign (p=0.13) in the 20 MD cases. Considering the 15 unilateral and 5 bilateral MD cases, the c-test/vHIT discrepancy was observed in 14 of the 25 affected ears. Positive signs of vestibular EH herniation into the cupula in the lateral semicircular canal was seen in 14 of the 25 MD ears. There was significant relationship between the c-test/vHIT discrepancy and EH herniation (p=0.0012) in MD ears.

Conclusion: The present results suggest that patients with MD could have inner ear EH significantly more often than those with non-MD. In cases with MD, a positive EH sign on ieMRI did not always indicate a c-test/vHIT discrepancy; both findings may occur due to herniation of vestibular EH adjacent to the lateral semicircular canal.

Keywords: Caloric test; Endolymphatic hydrops; Herniation; Inner ear MRI; Ménière’s disease; Video Head Impulse Test.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / diagnostic imaging
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Caloric Tests*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ear, Inner / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ear, Inner / physiopathology
  • Endolymphatic Hydrops / diagnostic imaging
  • Endolymphatic Hydrops / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Head Impulse Test*
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / diagnostic imaging
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Meniere Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Meniere Disease / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Semicircular Canals / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertigo / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Neuronitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Vestibular Neuronitis / physiopathology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / diagnostic imaging