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January 1969

Thermal Testing of the Vestibular Labyrinth

Author Affiliations

Iowa City
From the Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;89(1):22-24. doi:10.1001/archotol.1969.00770020024004

THE more one learns about thermal testing of the vestibular labyrinth, the more one is inclined to agree with a statement attributed to Dr. W. J. McNally to the effect that there are basically only two fundamental pieces of knowledge gained from caloric testing that are really helpful. They are (1) the test enables the examiner to determine whether or not the labyrinth works, and (2) the test creates a spell for the patient's identification as to its similarity with or dissimilarity from his own. That statement is about as true today as it was when he uttered it many years ago, in spite of innovations such as nystagmographs, X-Y recorders, and computers. The carefully taken and interpreted history is still the physician's best diagnostic tool, and there is still no substitute for meticulous examination of the whole patient.

An intelligent interpretation of the patient's condition and the results of

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