Three-dimensional eye movement analysis during caloric stimulation used to test vertical semicircular canal function

M Fetter, ST Aw, Thomas Haslwanter, J Heimberger, J Dichgans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hypothesis and Background: Quantitative caloric testing is considered to be one of the most sensitive parameters in the diagnosis of peripheral vestibular disorders. In the past, because of limitations in the methods, the evaluation of the caloric response was restricted to mainly lateral semicircular canal functions. In this study, the authors tried to extend caloric testing to the function of all semicircular canals by using three- dimensional (3-D) analysis techniques. Methods: The authors studied in seven normal subjects 3-D eye movement responses to air caloric of the right ear with the subjects positioned in standard caloric position (lateral semicircular canal vertical) or such that one of the three semicircular canals of the right side was horizontal. Movement of the left eye was measured in 3-D with a dual-magnetic search coil. During stimulation, 10 seconds of maximum response were selected and desaccaded to yield the slow- phase velocity profile. From this profile, the average magnitude and direction of the eye rotation axis (velocity vector) were calculated in head coordinates. Results: In all subjects, in standard caloric position, warm caloric produced eye velocity vectors that clustered closely along the direction expected from an excitation of the right lateral semicircular canal. When the subjects were positioned with one of the vertical semicircular canals horizontal, the orientation of the velocity vectors shifted toward a direction expected from the combined excitation of the later and the other vertical semicircular canal and vice versa. Conclusions: The 3- D eye movement recordings during caloric stimulation in different head positions allow the evaluation of the function of all semicircular canals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Otology
Volume19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

Keywords

  • Caloric testing
  • Human
  • Magnetic search coil
  • Semicircular canals
  • Three-dimensional eye movements

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