Disease-specific sparing of the anterior semicircular canals in bilateral vestibulopathy
Clinic for Neurology
Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology
610 Medicine & health
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AbstractOBJECTIVE: Bilateral vestibular loss (BVL) is often diagnosed with great delay and an underlying cause is only identified in 50-80%. We measured horizontal and vertical semicircular canal function using the video-head-impulse test (vHIT) and hypothesized that specific vHIT-patterns may be linked to certain etiologies. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 109 BVL-patients linked to aminoglycoside vestibulotoxicity (n=16), Menière's disease (n=10), infectious inner-ear disorders (n=11), sensorineural hearing-loss (n=11), cerebellar-ataxia-neuropathy-vestibular-areflexia-syndrome (CANVAS, n=5), other causes (n=19) as well as those with unknown origin (n=47). Vestibulo-ocular reflex gains and cumulative saccade amplitudes were measured with vHIT, and the functional integrity of all semicircular canals was rated. RESULTS: Overall, anterior canal hypofunction (n=86/218) was identified significantly (p<0.001) less often than horizontal (n=186/218) and posterior (n=194/218) hypofunction. Preserved anterior canal function was associated with aminoglycoside vestibulotoxicity, Menière's disease and BVL of unknown origin, while no such sparing was found for inner-ear infections, CANVAS and sensorineural hearing loss. CONCLUSIONS: Semicircular canal function in BVL shows disease-specific dissociations, potentially related to reduced vulnerability or superior recovery of the anterior canals. SIGNIFICANCE: In patients with suspected BVL we recommend quantifying vHIT gains and saccade amplitudes for all semicircular canals as the pattern of canal hypofunction may help identifying the underlying disorder.