Vestibular Irrigator Test System (VITS)
Caloric tests that irrigate the inner ear are often used as a first "reflex" type diagnostic when patients complain of dizziness (dizziness being the second most common cause of visits to general practices). The current caloric tests often require more than 1/2 hour to execute and the patients often leave feeling nauseated. That is because at least four irrigatios are required and it takes about 12 minutes for the stimulus (warm or cold water in the inner ear) to dissipate between irrigations.
The key to the new JHU/APL device is that the stimulus can be immediately shut off by washing out the ear with a neutralizing temperature (i.e., warm following cold; or cold following warm). Thus all four tests can be completed in under 12 minutes and the patients generally experience much less discomfort.
Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 6875196 issued.
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