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A rotary chair test is a procedure that tests a patient’s vestibular system. The vestibular system includes the inner ear, vestibular nerve, brain stem, and cerebellum. It is responsible for vision, reading, balance, posture, and the body’s orientation. The rotary chair test allows doctors to determine the problem if the patient is having issues with vision or balance.

Rotary Chair Test

Why a Person May Need a Rotary Chair Test

A person may need a rotary chair test if he or she is experiencing problems or symptoms that make doctors think that a problem with the vestibular system exists. The test can be used to diagnose a variety of problems. Some common reasons patients may need a rotary chair test include: 

Why a Person May Need Rotary Chair Test?

Preparing for a Rotary Chair Test

Patients should wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing during the test. Patients who take medication should tell their doctor ahead of time. Some medications can interfere with the test. Doctors may ask patients to stop taking them a few days before the test. 

During the Rotary Chair Test

During the test, the patient will sit in a computerized rotational chair in the middle of a dark room. Patients wear a pair of infrared video goggle that will monitor their eye movements during the test. The patient is alone in the room, but there is a microphone for communication with the medical staff performing the test. 

The patient will be shown various images and subjected to several subtests that will allow doctors to determine if the patient is having problems that may be caused by an issue with the vestibular system. Doctors can often also diagnose the cause of the problem from this test. 

Rotary Chair Test Recovery

Most people do not need to recover from a rotary chair test. Some people may feel disoriented and dizzy during or after the procedure. They may have trouble with balance and even feel nausea. Patients who experience these things during the test or after should tell the audiologist or doctor as it may help them make a diagnosis and could be a sign of a serious problem. Patients may want to have a friend or family member drive them home after the test. 

Rotary Chair Test Complications

There are usually no complications associated with the test other than some nausea, dizziness, or headaches. These are also associated with the symptoms of the illness that the test is used to diagnose. Some patients may experience severe symptoms after the test and may need to rest in a chair or in a hospital room until they are able to walk or feel well enough to go home. Doctors will monitor patients who are experiencing any complications.

Rotary Chair Test Results

Doctors and audiologists may be able to discuss preliminary test results with their patients a short time after the administration of the test. Other test results may take a few days. The results will show doctors which subtests the patient passed or failed and give them a better idea of the cause of the symptoms. Doctors will use the results to come up with a treatment program.

Rotary Chair Test, ENT


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