Evaluation of Effects of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus on the Vestibular System by Using the Video Head Impulse Test


Eurasian Journal of Medicine, vol.54, no.2, pp.138-144, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.5152/eurasianjmed.2022.20289
  • Journal Name: Eurasian Journal of Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.138-144
  • Keywords: AIDS, HIV, semicircular channels, vertigo, vestibulo-ocular reflex, vHIT
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: Some studies have suggested that the human immunodeficiency virus causes dizziness and other balance problems; however, the exact effects on the vestibular system in acute and chronic phases of the disease are not clear. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of the human immunodeficiency virus on semicircular canals using a video head impulse test. Materials and Methods: Seventy-two cases were included in the study. Twenty-six of the cases had positive human immunodeficiency virus RNA (group A) and 22 had negative human immunodeficiency virus RNA with positive anti-human immunodeficiency virus (group B) laboratory results. Twenty-four of the cases were healthy individuals (group C). The vestibular system was evaluated with a video head impulse test in all cases. Results: In the evaluation of overt/covert saccades, a statistically significant difference was detected for the left posterior semicircular canal between group B and the other 2 groups. However, this was considered an incidental finding and not a clinically significant result. There was no other significant difference in the catchup saccades for other canals. In addition, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups for the vestibulo-ocular reflex gain. Conclusion: Although the human immunodeficiency virus has been reported to be vestibulotoxic in previous studies, we found that the video head impulse test findings were not affected in our patient groups. Because the video head impulse test is considered a high-frequency test of vestibulo-ocular reflex, it is possible that vestibular effects of the human immunodeficiency virus can be confined to low frequencies. It is also possible that HIV affects the central structures while sparing the peripheral vestibular pathways.