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Volume 17, Number 2-3

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Characterization of age-related changes in vestibular evoked myogenic potentials
Full Text Featured Article (74 KB)
pp. 93 - 98
Dietmar Basta, Ingo Todt, Arne Ernst

A tone-burst stimulation of 500 Hz seems to be clinically most appropriate to elicit vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) because those VEMPs can be recorded at the lowest stimulus intensity possible. However, little is known about gender and age-related changes of the amplitude in tone-burst (500 Hz) evoked VEMPs. The aim of the present paper was therefore to investigate the influence of gender and age on VEMP amplitude in relation to the tonic muscle activity.

VEMPs of 64 healthy subjects were recorded ipsilaterally during air- or bone-conducted tone burst stimulation. The EMG of the tonically activated sternocleidomastoid muscle was recorded ipsilaterally with surface electrodes. Averages were taken for P1/N1 amplitudes of male and female volunteers within 3 different age groups.

Although the amplitude decreased with increasing age the tonic activity was not significant different between the age groups. Consequently the relation between VEMP amplitude and tonic muscle activity decreased with increasing age. The normative values of the age-dependent relation between VEMP amplitude and tonic muscle activity were described by the 90% confidence interval of the individual values. Normative thresholds were calculated. Normal saccular receptor function could be diagnosed if the VEMP amplitude is above (or equal to) the normative value at a given tonic muscle activity and age.

Normative data as described above are required to diagnose isolated saccular defects, which are indicative of a vestibular disorder.

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