Skull Vibration-Induced Nystagmus Test in a Human Model of Horizontal Canal Plugging

Audiol Res. 2021 Jun 24;11(3):301-312. doi: 10.3390/audiolres11030028.


Background/aim: the aim of this study was to assess the skull vibration-induced nystagmus test (SVINT) results and vestibular residual function after horizontal semicircular canal (HSCC) plugging.

Methods: In this retrospective chart review performed in a tertiary referral center, 11 patients who underwent unilateral horizontal semicircular canal plugging (uHSCCP) for disabling Menière's disease (MD) were included. The skull vibration-induced nystagmus (SVIN) slow-phase velocity (SPV) was compared with the results of the caloric test (CaT), video head impulse test (VHIT), and cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMP) performed on the same day.

Results: Overall, 10 patients had a strong SVIN beating toward the intact side (Horizontal SVIN-SPV: 8.8°/s ± 5.6°/s), 10 had a significant or severe ipsilateral CaT hypofunction, 10 had an ipsilateral horizontal VHIT gain impairment, and 3 had altered cVEMP on the operated side. Five had sensorineural hearing worsening. SVIN-positive results were correlated with CaT and horizontal VHIT (HVHIT) results (p < 0.05) but not with cVEMP. SVIN-SPV was correlated with CaT hypofunction in % (p < 0.05). Comparison of pre- and postoperative CaT % hypofunction showed a significant worsening (p = 0.028).

Conclusion: SVINT results in a human model of horizontal canal plugging are well correlated with vestibular tests exploring horizontal canal function, but not with cVEMP. SVINT always showed a strong lesional nystagmus beating away from the lesion side. SVIN acts as a good marker of HSCC function. This surgical technique showed invasiveness regarding horizontal canal vestibular function.

Keywords: caloric test; disabling Menière’s disease; horizontal canal plugging; skull vibration-induced nystagmus; video head impulse test.