The Skull Vibration-induced Nystagmus Test (SVINT) for Vestibular Disorders: A Systematic Review

Otol Neurotol. 2021 Jun 1;42(5):646-658. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000003022.


Objective: To determine the specificity and sensitivity of the skull vibration-induced nystagmus test (SVINT) for detecting vestibular hypofunction.

Databases reviewed: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, and SciELO.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Databases were searched using a comprehensive search strategy including the terms "Vibration-induced nystagmus" or "SVINT" or "skull vibration-induced nystagmus test" or "skull vibration-induced nystagmus" from inception to May 2020.

Results: A total of 79 articles were identified, and 16 studies met the inclusion criteria. The methodology for performing the SVINT and determining positivity is varied. Most authors refer to reproducibility, sustained response, ending with withdrawal of stimulus, nondirection changing, and response in more than one point of stimulation, as necessary for a positive test. Only seven studies included a slow phase velocity of 2 degrees/s or 2.5 degrees/s as a criterion. Most studies employed 100 Hz stimulus for 10 seconds, while longer duration is suggested for pediatric patients. For partial and total unilateral vestibular loss, positivity varied from 58 to 60%, and 93 to 100%, respectively. Sensitivity ranged from 50 to 100%, and specificity from 62 to 100%. Importantly, the SVINT may decrease with time but does not usually disappear, hence, can provide information of past/compensated vestibular events.

Conclusions: The SVINT can be used in pediatric and adult patients. It provides information regarding unilateral vestibular loss, acute, or compensated. It is a quick, safe, and noninvasive test, and is complementary to the dynamic vestibular and positional tests.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caloric Tests
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic* / diagnosis
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic* / etiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skull
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vibration* / adverse effects