Response characteristics of vestibular evoked myogenic potentials recorded over splenius capitis in young adults and adolescents

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Acta Otorrinolaringologica Espanola

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Background and objectives: Examine vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) responses recorded from surface electrodes over Splenius Capitis (SPC) in a seated position. Specific aims: (1) validate response characteristics of VEMP recordings from surface electrodes over Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and over SCP and (2) assess age effects on responses in adolescents and young adults. Materials and methods: Simultaneous surface VEMP was recorded bilaterally from electrodes placed over the dorsal neck musculature at a location known from previous work to record from SPC in 15 healthy participants during trials with head rotation toward and away from the stimulated ear. VEMP was also recorded from electrodes over SCM, ipsilateral to the stimulus ear, in the same participants in a supine, head lift/turn position. Results: Response amplitudes significantly increased with contraction strength and decreased with age. Participants were able to maintain sufficient contraction strength (amplitude) with head rotation to reliably measure over SPC. Normalized response amplitudes measured from electrodes over contralateral SPC were largest with head rotation contralateral to the stimulus ear. Normalized amplitudes and peak latencies were comparable to the same measures from SCM obtained in supine, head lift/turn position. Conclusions: Otolith generated myogenic responses can be recorded seated from electrodes over the dorsal neck with head rotation contralateral to the stimulus ear. In this position, contralateral recordings are consistent with responses known from previous work to arise from SPC; ipsilateral recordings may include crosstalk from activated muscles nearby, including ipsilateral SCM. Overall, techniques targeting contralateral SPC during contralateral head turn may provide additional methods of recording VEMPs.