Other known aliases – Nylen-Barany test
Definition – Starting supine, the patient’s head is rotated to one side and then quickly lowered to supine with the neck extended over the exam table. Patient is observed for nystagmus for 30 seconds and then returned to supine and observed for another 30 seconds. This is then repeated for the other side.
Clinical Significance – The Dix-Hallpike maneuver is the diagnostic maneuver to induce vertigo and nystagmus in patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo by relocating canaliths to the posterior semicircular canals.
History – Named after Margaret Ruth Dix (1902-1991), a British neuro-otologist, and Charles Skinner Hallpike (1900-1979), an English otologist. Dr. Dix earned her medical doctorate in 1937 from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Dr. Hallpike earned his from the University of London in 1926. Dr. Dix was training to become a surgeon when she was injured during the World War II air raids of London and suffered facial and ocular injuries which forced her to change her medical career path. It was during this time she was hired by Dr. Hallpike to pursue the field of neuro-otology. Their work resulted in a landmark series in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine and Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology. It was this series in 1952 where one of the papers describing their eponymous finding entitled “The Pathology, Symptomatology, and Diagnosis of Certain Common Disorders of the Vestibular System” was published.
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- DIX MR, HALLPIKE CS. The pathology symptomatology and diagnosis of certain common disorders of the vestibular system. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 1952; 45(6):341-54. [pubmed]
- Margaret Ruth Dix – Royal College of Surgeons [link]