Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is raised intracranial pressure without any identifiable etiology. The inner ear structures are susceptible to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure changes because of connections between the CSF space and the labyrinth to explain the audiovestibular symptoms, such as pulsatile tinnitus or dizziness, reported in 50% to 60% of these patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the vestibular functions using cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMPs) in IIH.
cVEMPs were recorded in 30 patients with IIH before lumbar puncture. Thirty healthy volunteers constituted the control group. The latencies of peaks p13 and n23 and peak-to-peak amplitude of p13–n23 were measured.
Responses were gathered bilaterally from all healthy controls. In 30 patients with IIH, 49 responses could be gathered from 60 tests (81.7%). The potential was absent bilaterally in five and unilaterally in one patient. When recorded, the latency and amplitude values of the responses of the patients were not significantly different from the healthy controls (P > 0.005). A correlation between CSF pressure and response persistence could not be determined.
cVEMPs are affected in patients with IIH and the main finding is the absence of the responses. Increased intracranial pressure causing sound transmission changes within the inner ear can affect the saccular afferents and may end up with absent responses on air-conducted cVEMP recordings. To comment on the correlation between the CSF pressure and cVEMP changes, successive cVEMP recordings with longitudinal CSF pressure monitoring seem necessary.