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Explore this issue:January 2015
vHIT, VEMP, and Vestibular Dysfunction in Pediatric and Geriatric Populations
Both vHIT and VEMP testing can be performed on patients of all ages. In fact, because vHIT and VEMP tests can be performed quickly and comfortably, researchers are developing a better understanding of the possible impact of vestibular dysfunction in both the pediatric and geriatric populations.
At Vanderbilt, Dr. McCaslin and others are using vHIT to screen hematology/oncology patients and children with cystic fibrosis. “Everyone screens their hearing, but nobody worries about their vestibular system, and vestibular dysfunction can cause balance problems and reading problems,” Dr. McCaslin said. “So vHIT has become one of the key components of our screening.” If vHIT testing suggests vestibular dysfunction, vestibular rehabilitation is offered, and patients are monitored for further deterioration or healing of the vestibular system.
Researchers at Vanderbilt are also using VEMP and vHIT testing to learn more about head trauma, enlarged vestibular aqueduct, and vestibular function. “We’re trying to understand a little more about why some kids lose vestibular function and about the implications of losing function,” Dr. McCaslin said.
Other researchers are using vHIT and VEMP testing to investigate the relationship between vestibular dysfunction and disability in older adults. “Right now, we’re working on a study to see if patients who have vestibular dysfunction at a certain point in time are more likely to experience falls in the next few years,” Dr. Agrawal said. “There is some preliminary data to suggest that is the case.”—JF