This test is designed to electronically determine the response of the vestibular or balance center in each ear. It is similar in concept to other electronic studies of the body, such as the electrocardiogram of the heart action and the electroencephalogram to study brain function.
During the test, five electrodes are put on each side of and above the eyes. Tracings of eye movements are recorded with the body in different sitting and lying positions. Cool and warm probes are alternately inserted in the ear canal, and recordings of eye movements are taken after this stimulation.
This test gives the doctor a permanent record of the balance mechanism after caloric stimulation of the patient. This test also helps determine the cause of dizziness and localize whether the dizziness is in the inner ear or elsewhere. It takes about one hour. The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for twohours prior to the test.
In order to accurately evaluate the balance center certain medications should not be taken for 72 hours before the tests are performed. These medications include motion sickness tables such as Dramamine, Antivert, all antihistamines, all tranquilizers and all type of alcohol and sedatives.