Res Vestib Sci.  2018 Mar;17(1):18-22. 10.21790/rvs.2018.17.1.18.

Clinical Significance of Spontaneous Nystagmus in Horizontal Semicircular Canal Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Eulji University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Eulji University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.


We aimed to assess the clinical significance of spontaneous nystagmus (SN) in horizontal semicircular canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (HC-BPPV).
Twenty-four patients who were diagnosed with HC-BPPV in Eulji University Hospital from January 2015 to December 2016 were recruited. Various bed-side examinations including SN in both sitting and supine position, head roll test, and bithermal caloric test were evaluated. The number of canalith repositioning maneuvers were counted in all patients.
SN was observed in 18.2% of geotropic HC-BPPV and 38.5% of apogeotropic HC-BPPV, respectively. There was no significant difference between presence of SN and the direction of initial nystagmus (p=0.386, 2-tailed Fisher exact test). The mean number of otolith repositioning maneuvers in patients with SN was 3.29±1.799 and this was significantly higher than in patients without SN (1.76±0.831) (p=0.009). Although the mean number of repositioning maneuver in patients in apogeotropic HC-BPPV and SN (3.80±1.924) tended to be higher than those who were diagnosed with apogeotropic HC-BPPV without SN (1.88±1.991) (p=0.035), the post hoc analysis with Bonferroni correction revealed that it was not significant because it was higher than the adjusted p-value (p=0.017). The initial direction of nystagmus was changed into the opposite direction in 29.17% of patient. However, this change was not different according to presence of SN (p=0.374, 2-tailed Fisher exact test).
The presence of SN in HC-BPPV may be associated with lower treatment response. In particular, cautions are needed in patients with apogeotropic HC-BPPV.


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; Horizontal canal; Spontaneous nystagmus

MeSH Terms

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo*
Caloric Tests
Otolithic Membrane
Semicircular Canals*
Supine Position
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