The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD) on the n10 component of the ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP n10) and the p13-n23 component of the cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP p13-n23) evoked by 500 Hz bone-conducted vibration (BCV) at the midline forehead at the hairline (Fz) in 26 patients with computed tomography-verified SSCD. Previous evidence has led to the proposal that the oVEMP n10 is of utricular origin whereas the cVEMP p13-n23 is of saccular origin. The question is can the oVEMP n10 to 500 Hz BCV indicate SSCD?
A hand-held Bruel & Kjaer 4810 Minishaker was used to provide BCV stimulation using surface electromyography electrodes to record oVEMP n10 and cVEMP p13-n23. The stimulus was 7 msec bursts of 500 Hz BCV at either Fz or at the vertex of the skull (Cz). Twenty-seven healthy subjects were tested in the same paradigm.
In response to 500 Hz Fz BCV in SSCD patients the oVEMP n10 amplitude beneath the contraSSCD eye was substantially and significantly larger than the oVEMP n10 beneath the ipsiSSCD eye, whereas in these same patients the cVEMP p13-n23 amplitude over the ipsiSSCD sternocleidomastoid muscle to Fz BCV was slightly but significantly larger than the cVEMP p13-n23 amplitude over the contraSSCD sternocleidomastoid muscle. In SSCD patients there was a significant relationship between the size of the dehiscence and the amplitude of the contralateral oVEMP n10 potential. The oVEMP n10 to Cz stimulation was still present in SSCD patients, but small or absent in healthy subjects.
In response to 500 Hz Fz BCV an asymmetrical oVEMP n10 with a significantly increased amplitude of contralesional oVEMP n10 (compared with population values of healthy subjects) is a simple useful indicator of SSCD, confirmed by the Cz response. oVEMP testing with 500 Hz Fz BCV allows very simple, very fast identification of a probable unilateral SSCD.