Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials in basilar artery migraine.

  • Liao L
  • Young Y
  • LJ L
 et al. 
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Abstract

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Because the sacculocollic reflex is a descending pathway passing through the territory of basilar artery, the aim of the study was to investigate whether hypoperfusion affects this pathway by applying vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) testing in patients with basilar artery migraine. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective study from May 2000 to April 2002. METHODS: Twenty patients were diagnosed as having basilar artery migraine according to the criteria of the International Headache Society and literature. Eight were male and 12 were female patients, and their ages ranged from 9 to 48 years (mean age, 40 y). Each patient underwent a battery of audio-vestibular tests. RESULTS: Electronystagmography disclosed abnormal eye tracking test in six patients (30%), and there were abnormal optokinetic nystagmus test results in nine patients (45%). Caloric test revealed canal paresis in seven patients, directional preponderance in four patients, and normal responses in nine patients (45%). Vestibular evoked myogenic potential testing disclosed absent vestibular evoked myogenic potentials in seven patients and delayed vestibular evoked myogenic potentials in two patients, with one patient showing absent vestibular evoked myogenic potentials on one side and delayed vestibular evoked myogenic potentials on the other side. The remaining 10 patients (50%) had bilateral normal vestibular evoked myogenic potentials. Five patients had preserved both caloric and VEMP test responses, six patients displayed absent caloric and VEMP test responses, and the remaining nine patients had either abnormal caloric test responses or abnormal vestibular evoked myogenic potentials, exhibiting a nonsignificant relationship between caloric test responses and vestibular evoked myogenic potentials. Relief of headache and vertigo was achieved after 3 months of medication. Ten asymptomatic patients with either absent or delayed vestibular evoked myogenic potentials before treatment underwent follow-up VEMP test, and nine patients (90%) displayed normal vestibular evoked myogenic potentials bilaterally. CONCLUSION: Vestibular evoked myogenic potential testing evaluates the sacculocollic reflex, which descends through the lower brainstem. Some patients with basilar artery migraine have absent or delayed vestibular evoked myogenic potentials, presumably because the descending pathway from the saccule through the brainstem to cranial nerve XI is interrupted, which is attributed to hypoperfusion in the territory of the basilar artery. After 3 months of medication, recovery of normal vestibular evoked myogenic potentials in an asymptomatic patient indicates reversible ischemia in the territory of the basilar artery.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory
  • Auditory/physiology
  • Basilar Artery
  • Child
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders
  • Migraine Disorders/physiopathology
  • Nystagmus
  • Optokinetic
  • Optokinetic/physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vestibular Nerve
  • Vestibular Nerve/physiopathology
  • physiology
  • physiopathology

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Authors

  • Lih-Jen Liao

  • Yi-Ho Young

  • Liao LJ

  • Young YH

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