Cupulolithiasis of the horizontal semicircular canal

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To clarify whether positional nystagmus of horizontal cupulolithiasis contains vertical and torsional components, and to quantify the asymmetry, we analyzed nystagmus in four positions (healthy-ear-down, affected-ear-down, supine, nose-down), using 3-dimensional video-oculography. Subjects were 20 patients with direction-changing apogeotropic positional nystagmus, 11 females and 9 males, with a mean age of 58.1 years. Nystagmus was recorded using an infrared camera and the findings were converted to digital data. Using ImageJ, we performed 3-dimensional video-oculography and measured maximum slow-phase velocity (MSV) of three components. Positional nystagmus was not purely horizontal. Eleven (55%) patients revealed a vertical component, and 14 (70%) patients had a torsional component in the healthy-ear-down position. The mean value of MSV of the horizontal component in the healthy-ear-down position was 18°/s and that in the affected-ear-down position was 7.8°/s. For the horizontal component, MSV in the healthy-ear-down position was significantly greater than that in the affected-ear-down position (p < 0.01). These results suggest that vertical and torsional components occur from the horizontal semicircular canal, and the response to ampullopetal bending is more than two times as strong as that to ampullofugal bending.

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We thank Dr. Kazunori Futai for preparing some of the figures.

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Correspondence to Hiroaki Ichijo.

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Positional nystagmus of right cupulolithiasis.

Positional nystagmus of right cupulolithiasis.

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Ichijo, H. Cupulolithiasis of the horizontal semicircular canal. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 269, 53–56 (2012) doi:10.1007/s00405-011-1583-1

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  • 3-dimensional video-oculography
  • Vertical component
  • Torsional component
  • Maximum slow-phase velocity
  • Ewald’s law
  • Positional vertigo