Indications for Caloric Testing
- to confirm that dizziness is of inner ear origin
- to provide patient with understanding and reassurance of a definite diagnosis which can be therapeutic
- to more confidently provide a specific treatment with vestibular rehabilitation
A caloric test is abnormal in 65% of patients with vestibular symptoms. Isolated vestibular dizziness is of inner ear origin. VIIIth nerve or brainstem dysfunction are rare causes of a canal paresis and are associated with other non vestibular symptoms.
Advantages of Caloric Testing
The stimulus is easily administered and well tolerated by most patients; each ear is stimulated separately, allowing lateralisation of the affected ear.
Disadvantages of Caloric Testing
Produces nausea in a small proportion (5%) and cannot be performed with a tympanic perforation; reduced responsiveness in a middle ear effusion.