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      The Video Head Impulse Test


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          In 1988, we introduced impulsive testing of semicircular canal (SCC) function measured with scleral search coils and showed that it could accurately and reliably detect impaired function even of a single lateral canal. Later we showed that it was also possible to test individual vertical canal function in peripheral and also in central vestibular disorders and proposed a physiological mechanism for why this might be so. For the next 20 years, between 1988 and 2008, impulsive testing of individual SCC function could only be accurately done by a few aficionados with the time and money to support scleral search-coil systems—an expensive, complicated and cumbersome, semi-invasive technique that never made the transition from the research lab to the dizzy clinic. Then, in 2009 and 2013, we introduced a video method of testing function of each of the six canals individually. Since 2009, the method has been taken up by most dizzy clinics around the world, with now close to 100 refereed articles in PubMed. In many dizzy clinics around the world, video Head Impulse Testing has supplanted caloric testing as the initial and in some cases the final test of choice in patients with suspected vestibular disorders. Here, we consider seven current, interesting, and controversial aspects of video Head Impulse Testing: (1) introduction to the test; (2) the progress from the head impulse protocol (HIMPs) to the new variant—suppression head impulse protocol (SHIMPs); (3) the physiological basis for head impulse testing; (4) practical aspects and potential pitfalls of video head impulse testing; (5) problems of vestibulo-ocular reflex gain calculations; (6) head impulse testing in central vestibular disorders; and (7) to stay right up-to-date—new clinical disease patterns emerging from video head impulse testing. With thanks and appreciation we dedicate this article to our friend, colleague, and mentor, Dr Bernard Cohen of Mount Sinai Medical School, New York, who since his first article 55 years ago on compensatory eye movements induced by vertical SCC stimulation has become one of the giants of the vestibular world.

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          A clinical sign of canal paresis.

          Unilateral loss of horizontal semicircular canal function, termed canal paresis, is an important finding in dizzy patients. To our knowledge, apart from head-shaking nystagmus, no clinical sign of canal paresis has yet been described and the term derives from the characteristic finding on caloric tests: little or no nystagmus evoked by either hot or cold irrigation of the affected ear. We describe a simple and reliable clinical sign of total unilateral loss of horizontal semicircular canal function: one large or several small oppositely directed, compensatory, refixation saccades elicited by rapid horizontal head rotation toward the lesioned side. Using magnetic search coils to measure head and eye movement, we have validated this sign in 12 patients who had undergone unilateral vestibular neurectomy.
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            The video head impulse test: diagnostic accuracy in peripheral vestibulopathy.

            The head impulse test (HIT) is a useful bedside test to identify peripheral vestibular deficits. However, such a deficit of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) may not be diagnosed because corrective saccades cannot always be detected by simple observation. The scleral search coil technique is the gold standard for HIT measurements, but it is not practical for routine testing or for acute patients, because they are required to wear an uncomfortable contact lens. To develop an easy-to-use video HIT system (vHIT) as a clinical tool for identifying peripheral vestibular deficits. To validate the diagnostic accuracy of vHIT by simultaneous measures with video and search coil recordings across healthy subjects and patients with a wide range of previously identified peripheral vestibular deficits. Horizontal HIT was recorded simultaneously with vHIT (250 Hz) and search coils (1,000 Hz) in 8 normal subjects, 6 patients with vestibular neuritis, 1 patient after unilateral intratympanic gentamicin, and 1 patient with bilateral gentamicin vestibulotoxicity. Simultaneous video and search coil recordings of eye movements were closely comparable (average concordance correlation coefficient r(c) = 0.930). Mean VOR gains measured with search coils and video were not significantly different in normal (p = 0.107) and patients (p = 0.073). With these groups, the sensitivity and specificity of both the reference and index test were 1.0 (95% confidence interval 0.69-1.0). vHIT measures detected both overt and covert saccades as accurately as coils. The video head impulse test is equivalent to search coils in identifying peripheral vestibular deficits but easier to use in clinics, even in patients with acute vestibular neuritis.
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              The Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT) of Semicircular Canal Function – Age-Dependent Normative Values of VOR Gain in Healthy Subjects

              Background/hypothesis The video Head Impulse Test (vHIT) is now widely used to test the function of each of the six semicircular canals individually by measuring the eye rotation response to an abrupt head rotation in the plane of the canal. The main measure of canal adequacy is the ratio of the eye movement response to the head movement stimulus, i.e., the gain of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). However, there is a need for normative data about how VOR gain is affected by age and also by head velocity, to allow the response of any particular patient to be compared to the responses of healthy subjects in their age range. In this study, we determined for all six semicircular canals, normative values of VOR gain, for each canal across a range of head velocities, for healthy subjects in each decade of life. Study design The VOR gain was measured for all canals across a range of head velocities for at least 10 healthy subjects in decade age bands: 10–19, 20–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69, 70–79, 80–89. Methods The compensatory eye movement response to a small, unpredictable, abrupt head rotation (head impulse) was measured by the ICS impulse prototype system. The same operator delivered every impulse to every subject. Results Vestibulo-ocular reflex gain decreased at high head velocities, but was largely unaffected by age into the 80- to 89-year age group. There were some small but systematic differences between the two directions of head rotation, which appear to be largely due to the fact that in this study only the right eye was measured. The results are considered in relation to recent evidence about the effect of age on VOR performance. Conclusion These normative values allow the results of any particular patient to be compared to the values of healthy people in their age range and so allow, for example, detection of whether a patient has a bilateral vestibular loss. VOR gain, as measured directly by the eye movement response to head rotation, seems largely unaffected by aging.

                Author and article information

                Front Neurol
                Front Neurol
                Front. Neurol.
                Frontiers in Neurology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                09 June 2017
                : 8
                : 258
                [1] 1Neurology Department, Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital , Camperdown, NSW, Australia
                [2] 2Vestibular Research Laboratory, School of Psychology, The University of Sydney , Sydney, NSW, Australia
                [3] 3Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland
                [4] 4Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland
                Author notes

                Edited by: Bernard Cohen, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States

                Reviewed by: David Samuel Zee, Johns Hopkins University, United States; Jorge Kattah, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, United States

                *Correspondence: G. M. Halmagyi, gmh@ 123456icn.usyd.edu.au

                Specialty section: This article was submitted to Neuro-otology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Neurology

                Copyright © 2017 Halmagyi, Chen, MacDougall, Weber, McGarvie and Curthoys.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 21 April 2017
                : 22 May 2017
                Page count
                Figures: 15, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 159, Pages: 23, Words: 17555
                Funded by: Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation 10.13039/501100003354

                vestibular,vestibulo-ocular reflex,vor,semicircular canal,video head impulse test,head impulse test,shimp


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