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01.12.2015 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 1/2015

Light cupula of the horizontal semicircular canal occurring alternately on both sides: a case report

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Jung Eun Shin, Chang-Hee Kim
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12901-015-0015-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

CHK interpreted the case, and drafted and submitted the final manuscript. JES made substantial contribution in interpreting the case, and drafted the part of the discussion. Both authors have revised the manuscript critically and approved the final manuscript.



The light cupula is a condition wherein the cupula of the semicircular canal has a lower specific gravity than its surrounding endolymph. It is characterized by a persistent geotropic direction-changing positional nystagmus in the supine head-roll test, and the identification of a null plane with slight head-turning to either side.

Case presentation

This study describes a case of recurring light cupula that occurred alternately on both sides. At the first episode, a null plane was identified on the right side, which led to the diagnosis of a light cupula on the right side. At the second episode, a null plane was identified on the left side, leading to the diagnosis of a light cupula on the left side.


This is the first case report of recurring light cupula alternately involving both sides. Although the pathophysiology is not entirely understood yet, the light cupula should be considered as one of causes of recurrent positional vertigo.
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