Hyperventilation-induced nystagmus in patients with vestibular schwannoma

Lloyd B. Minor, Thomas Haslwanter, Dominik Straumann, David S. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To analyze the nystagmus evoked by hyperventilation in patients with unilateral vestibular schwannoma and to use this information to predict the effects of hyperventilation on individual ampullary nerves. Methods: Three-dimensional scleral search coil eye movement recording techniques were used to record the magnitude and time course of eye movements in six patients with unilateral vestibular schwannoma and hyperventilation- induced nystagmus. The presenting complaints in five of these patients were vertigo or dysequilibrium. Results: The eye movement response to hyperventilation was a 'recovery' nystagmus with slow-phase components corresponding to excitation of the affected vestibular nerve. Projection of the eye velocity vector into the plane of the semicircular canals revealed that fibers arising from the ampulla of the horizontal canal were most affected by hyperventilation with lesser activation of fibers to the superior canal and smaller, more variable responses from posterior canal fibers. Conclusions: The three-dimensional characteristics of the nystagmus evoked by hyperventilation in patients with vestibular schwannoma provide insight into the vestibular end organs affected by the tumor and the mechanism responsible for the nystagmus. This finding indicates that hyperventilation resulted in a transient increase in activity from these partially demyelinated axons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2158-2168
Number of pages11
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Hyperventilation
  • Recovery nystagmus
  • Three-dimensional eye movements
  • Vestibular schwannoma
  • Dominance, Cerebral/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Electronystagmography
  • Hyperventilation/physiopathology
  • Eye Movements/physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Vestibular Nerve/physiopathology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular/physiology
  • Neuroma, Acoustic/diagnosis
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Semicircular Canals/innervation


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