Nystagmus (mnemonic)

A helpful mnemonic to remember the expected direction of nystagmus during caloric test is:

  • COWS

Mnemonic

  • Cold-Opposite
  • Warm-Same

Following ear stimulation with water (left ear):

  • cold water (cooler than body temperature), a right-beating nystagmus (directed toward the opposite ear) results
  • warm water (warmer than body temperature), a left-beating nystagmus (directed toward the same left ear) occurs

Similar, but oppositely directed responses occur for the right ear.

Share article

Article information

rID: 6936
System: Head & Neck
Section: Mnemonics
Tags: ent, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • COWS

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.