I am having ECoG and ENG tests Friday, how bad is it?
I am scheduled to have these tests on Friday, and the doctor warned me that I would want to bring my Valium along for right afterward. She said it's quite unpleasant. Who has had these tests, and what has been your experience during and afterward? I just want to know what to expect. The woman I set up the appt with said it wasn't that bad, but my ENT insists I will hate her afterward. Thoughts?
The ENG is a piece of cake. The EcoG is kind of creepy if you think about it a lot (cutting into your eardrums and all), but it really isn't that big of a deal. Really very little pain, like I said just a little bit creepy. Try to keep your mind occupied.
ok, that is a better report than my doc keeps saying. I was afraid I would feel very dizzy and sick afterward. She made it sound like it was really unpleasant and I would just want to sleep and be drugged afterward. But it sounds like that's not been your experience. That's very hopeful for me. Please, anyone else who has had these tests, let me know what your experience was. Thanks for the post!
I forgot to mention, I hope not as creepy as the coffin they tried to shove me in for the MRI. That was a no go. I had to do it in the open MRI instead, I had a full freak out. Putting a mildly closterphobic person in a tube with a cage over your face, when you are already dizzy is about as close to torture as I have ever endured. Ugh.
90% of the ENG is just eye tests. The caloric part where they put in hot/cold air or water is the part where you will feel your head spin. I've been through it twice, and really it was no big deal, lasting maybe half a minute or so. BTW the normal response is to feel your head spin, if you don't then you've got a big problem.
All that is meant by the statement 'big problem' is that the response of a healthy ear to a caloric test is to make the person spin. If you have any dysfunction in your ear - namely your vestibular nerve is damaged, you may not spin at all when water is put in either ear, or you may spin less - no this does NOT mean you have 'big' problem i.e. you're on the way out, about to keel over. It means you have vestibular damage - caused by, as you are probably aware, a number of possible things, menieres being one, labyrinthitis being another. Vestibular damage is not life threatenting - so don't panic about this comment.
I had the rotary chair/ENG test done - they spin you round in a chair. I didn't have the caloric or ECOG so can't comment on those. I didn't enjoy the experience, but nor was it horrendous/unbearable or anything like that - I'm dizzy, I don't like being made to feel more dizzy, but, having been told to bring a friend in case I needed help getting home, I got the bus, and if I had to have it again, I wouldn't be delighted but nor would it bother me very much. You'll be fine. If you think about it, people who go on fairground rides choose to be spun all over the place and they don't think twice about it. Because they call this a hospital test and, of course, you're already dizzy, it seems scarier, it isn't really. I was terrified and I coped fine, I think it was made much worse because I was so panicked, built up up to be this terrible thing, and it wasn't.
[This message has been edited by hbep (edited 09-18-2003).]
I had my ENG done this morning. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was no walk in the parc for me! First you must understand that lately no matter what the test is, even if there'S no pain associated with it, I get panic attacks. My anxiety levels lately are so high. On Monday I had an EEG and had to ask for breaks every couple minutes because I could no breathe, panic attacks. The EEG only requires you to lie down with eyes open or closed. But the technician that did the ENG this morning was so nice that I actually did not panic. He really helped to distract me.
The first part of the ENG was to follow a red light in the dark (totally dark, so that's a little freaky, well for me anyway) The light moves vertically then horizontally and you have to follow it. Sometimes, you have to close your eyes for about 30 seconds. It wasn't to bad but when the red light disappears and you have to stare eyes open in the dark, that can be a little scary (again that's for me and I'm a bit of a neurotic freak!!!).
The second park was EASY. Just had to follow patterns on a screen, in the dark as well. It's like watching an old movies from the 50s.
The last part was the worst BUT not so bad. They start by injecting cold water in your ears one at a time. The water is injected in for about 30 seconds. After 20 sec. to 30 sec., if your ears are working properly, you start to spin. I also felt very stomach sick. But it disappears as instantly as it appears. If your ears don't react the same way to the cold water (30 C), they have to repeat the procedure with hot water (44 C). If one ear reacts stronger than the other, there might be a "problem". In my case, with the cold water my left ear responded much more than my right so the technician repeated the procedure with hot water. With hot water, my left ear responded more strongly than my right. So he says the responses balance out and results are normal. I was a bit frustrated. I wanted them to find out that there was something wrong as I would much prefer to have an inner ear thing than not knowing what I've got.
So again, the test was very tolerable and better than I thought it would. When I "attempted" to get an MRI done, I had such strong panic attacks that I had to cancel. Got a CT scan instead. But the ENG was NOTHING like the MRI, for me that is.
Just wanted to say that even if they don't find anything on the tests, it is STILL worth seeing a neuro oto - depending on your condition sometimes nothing shows up initially on tests and also, if you have, say, labyrinthitis for a while, you can already have compensated to some degree so the tests can come back negative. Also, a neuro oto is the best person to advise you as to what else might be going on apart from an inner ear disorder that could cause your symptoms if nothing shows on the tests and they don't think, from your symptom history, that it's inner ear - for example migraine, neck problems etc....
Don't let the ENT fob you off if the tests show nothing, or make you feel like you're making a fuss about nothing. See a neuro oto if the ENT is useless.
Thank you for your report on the tests. I totally understand the panic attacks and of course, the fear of the MRI machine. I felt like such a failure at the radiology office when I panicked, but I knew that there was no way I could convince myself to lay in that darn thing for any length of time. It didn't matter that I could see out the bottom, or that I could get out if I had to, it was a coffin with a hockey death mask in my mind, and there was no way I could do it. The open MRI was better, it's more like lying under a coffee table, at least there are several exits in an "emergency", but you still have to try to overcome that feeling that you have to lie there for that long. And the sounds that darn machine makes are deafening when you already have dizziness, hearing sensitivity, and tinitus going on.
I have had a few odd spells that I think may be panic. I am not sure, the ENT thought it might just be my body reacting to the dizziness, but I think there's more to it. One time was in the car when we were driving down from 12,000 feet to about 8,000 feet (I live in Colorado, it's all high altitude around here, I felt the blood rush to my head sensation, and did all that I could not to pass out. I couldn't hear well, the tinitus was over the top, it was really that feeling like I might pass out (which has never actually happened btw). I had two attacks that day, and then that night I had a terrible time, waking up over and over, as if I were falling I guess. I finally had to take a dose of meclizine (as much as I hate to) and call it a night. Even with the meclizine in my system, I felt that anxious feeling, but the drugs are so powerful that it forced me to sleep through it.
The next time I had one of these attacks was recently, in the movie theater. We ate a bucket of popcorn (salt?, only if I end up with Meniere's would that play into it), and I don't know if it was the movie screen and all the movement or what, but my heart started racing and I felt sick and woozy all over again. That crappy hungover feeling then lasted the rest of the day, and seemed to trigger my latest bout that I have been enduring, which is mild mostly, but still annoying and distracting. Ahh, isn't this great!
I sure hope you get some answers. It's almost better to just know what the heck is going on, even if it's sort of bad news, then maybe you can try to move on with your life. My uncle is a doctor, not an ENT or Neuro guy, but he has seen this a bit, and also knows some people that have had similar symptoms. He said a lot of the time, they never figure out what it is, but, after a period of time, it finally just goes away. I am banking on that idea, but I know that's not the case for everyone. We'll see. I will definately let you know how it goes tomorrow. Thank you for your reassuring report.
I just had my tests done today. I am happy to report it wasn't nearly as unpleasant as I anticipated. First of all, the equipment they used was newer, and they didn't use water in my ear at all. They forced cold air, and then warm air into my ears, and yes, it caused dizziness, but the tech did a good job at trying to keep my mind occupied so that I didn't get panicky. There was a notable difference in the dizziness reaction in each ear. One was very dizzy, whole body spinning sensation, but the other was milder. I don't know what all this means, but I guess I will find out a week from Tuesday when my ENT reads the report. The ECoG was also painless. They inserted a long ear plug type device in my ear, and I had to listen to a loud clicking sound for several minutes in each ear. But it wasn't very unpleasant. Again, I won't know the results of all of this until next week. After I left the office I had some unbalanced sensation, and I felt tired and fatigued, so I took a nap, and now I feel fairly normal (as normal as someone with this condition can feel).
Because I am an eager person to have information, has anyone had this test, and felt that difference in dizziness in the ears, and what did it end up meaning for you?
Hi there, glad things were'nt as bad as you feared. Just to say that if you had a noticeable difference between ears it probably shows you have unilateral vestibular dysfunction. I think it's the ear which made you less dizzy which is the affected one. Anyway, let us know how you get on, xx
Thanks for the insight, I will post with my test results when I get them, a week from Tuesday. Today was a pretty good day, not too dizzy. It comes and goes. It will be nice to have some sort of idea what is going on, but I don't have huge expectations since these test are only "the best we've got" according to my doctor (with a cynical tone!).