Quantitative Vestibular Function Testing in the Pediatric Population

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Abstract

Quantitative tests of vestibular function include the caloric test, cervical and ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP), rotary chair, and head impulse test, either at the bedside or utilizing video head impulse test (vHIT). The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of how to perform these tests in children, including which tests are recommended based on the child's age and any modifications or considerations that can be made. A variety of clinical measures have been recommended as screening measures for vestibular loss, which will be reviewed. Symptom questionnaires designed to assess the functional impact of dizziness and vestibular loss in children will also be discussed. If a child complains of dizziness or if vestibular loss is suspected (either by case history or positive screening measure), vestibular function testing is warranted. For vestibular function testing, children aged 0 to 2 years typically receive rotary chair, cervical VEMP, and vHIT if a remote system is available. For children aged 3 to 7 years, vHIT, cervical VEMP, and ocular VEMP are completed, and for children aged 8+ years, vHIT, caloric testing if vHIT is normal, and cervical and ocular VEMP are completed. For all children, modifications to testing can be made, as needed.

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