Acute vestibular syndrome: is skew deviation a central sign?

Korda, Athanasia; Zamaro, Ewa; Wagner, Franca; Morrison, Miranda; Caversaccio, Marco Domenico; Sauter, Thomas C; Schneider, Erich; Mantokoudis, Georgios (2021). Acute vestibular syndrome: is skew deviation a central sign? (In Press). Journal of neurology 10.1007/s00415-021-10692-6

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Skew deviation results from a dysfunction of the graviceptive pathways in patients with an acute vestibular syndrome (AVS) leading to vertical diplopia due to vertical ocular misalignment. It is considered as a central sign, however, the prevalence of skew and the accuracy of its test is not well known .


We performed a prospective study from February 2015 until September 2020 of all patients presenting at our emergency department (ED) with signs of AVS. All patients underwent clinical HINTS and video test of skew (vTS) followed by a delayed MRI, which served as a gold standard for vestibular stroke confirmation.


We assessed 58 healthy subjects, 53 acute unilateral vestibulopathy patients (AUVP) and 24 stroke patients. Skew deviation prevalence was 24% in AUVP and 29% in strokes. For a positive clinical test of skew, the cut-off of vertical misalignment was 3 deg with a very low sensitivity of 15% and specificity of 98.2%. The sensitivity of vTS was 29.2% with a specificity of 75.5%.


Contrary to prior knowledge, skew deviation proved to be more prevalent in patients with AVS and occurred in every forth patient with AUVP. Large skew deviations (> 3.3 deg), were pointing toward a central lesion. Clinical and video test of skew offered little additional diagnostic value compared to other diagnostic tests such as the head impulse test and nystagmus test. Video test of skew could aid to quantify skew in the ED setting in which neurotological expertise is not always readily available.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Korda, Athanasia; Zamaro, Ewa; Wagner, Franca; Morrison, Miranda Claire; Caversaccio, Marco; Sauter, Thomas Christian and Mantokoudis, Georgios


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






Martin Zbinden

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2021 15:30

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2021 15:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Acute stroke Acute unilateral vestibulopathy Test of skew VOG Vertigo Video-oculography




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