Prospective cohort study on the predictors of fall risk in 119 patients with bilateral vestibulopathy

Bieke Dobbels*, Florence Lucieer, Griet Mertens, Annick Gilles, Julie Moyaert, Paul van de Heyning, Nils Guinand, Angelica Perez Fornos, Nolan Herssens, Ann Hallemans, Luc Vereeck, Olivier Vanderveken, Vincent Van Rompaey, Raymond van de Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Objectives

To identify predictive factors for falls in patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BV). Specific variables contributing to the general work-up of a vestibular patient were compared between BV patients experiencing falls and those who did not.

Design

Prospective multi-centric cohort study.

Setting

Department of Otorhinolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery at two tertiary referral centers: Antwerp University Hospital and Maastricht University Medical Center.

Participants

In total, 119 BV patients were included. BV diagnosis was defined in accordance with the diagnostic BV criteria, established by the Barany Society in 2017.

Main outcome measures

Patients were divided into fallers and non-fallers, depending on the experience of one or more falls in the preceding 12 months. Residual vestibular function on caloric testing, rotatory chair testing, video head impulse test (vHIT) and cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMP) was evaluated as a predictive factor for falls. Furthermore, hearing function (speech perception in noise (SPIN)), sound localization performance, etiology, disease duration, sport practice, scores on the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and the Oscillopsia Severity Questionnaire (OSQ) were compared between fallers and non-fallers.

Results

Forty-five (39%) patients reported falls. In a sub-analysis in the patients recruited at UZA (n = 69), 20% experienced three or more falls and three patients (4%) suffered from severe fall-related injuries. The DHI score and the OSQ score were significantly higher in fallers. Residual vestibular function, SPIN, sound localization performance, etiology, disease duration, age and sport practice did not differ between fallers and non-fallers.

Conclusions

Falls and (severe) fall-related injuries are frequent among BV patients. A DHI score > 47 and an OSQ score > 27.5 might be indicative for BV patients at risk for falls, with a sensitivity of 70% and specificity of 60%. Residual vestibular function captured by single vestibular tests (vHIT, calorics, rotatory chair, cVEMP) or by overall vestibular function defined as the number of impaired vestibular sensors are not suitable to distinguish fallers and non-fallers in a BV population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0228768
Number of pages17
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • QUALITY-OF-LIFE
  • MYOGENIC POTENTIALS
  • HYPOFUNCTION

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