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In medicine, the caloric reflex test is a test of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. It is used by audiologists and other trained professionals to validate a diagnosis of asymmetric function in the peripheral vestibular system. Calorics are usually a subtest of the electronystagmography (ENG) test battery.
Technique and results
- If the water is cold (30oC) the eyes turn toward the ipsilateral ear, with horizontal nystagmus (quick horizontal eye movements) to the contralateral ear.
- If the water is warm (44oC) the eyes turn toward the contralateral ear, with horizontal nystagmus to the ipsilateral ear.
- Absent reactive eye movement suggests vestibular weakness of the horizontal semicircular canal of the side being stimulated.
COWS: Cold water = nystagmus to the Opposite side, Warm water = nystagmus to the Same side.
- Bardorf CM, Van Stavern GP. Nystagmus, Acquired. eMedicine.com. URL: http://www.emedicine.com/oph/topic339.htm. Accessed on: August 17, 2006.
- Narenthiran G. Neurosurgery Quiz. Annals of Neurosurgery. URL: http://www.annals-neurosurgery.org/quiz/nsq2/#a3. Accessed on: August 17, 2006.
- Webb C (1985). COWS caloric test.. Ann Emerg Med 14 (9): 938. PMID 4026002.
- Physiology at MCG 8/8ch7/s8ch7_30
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