The effect of the canalith repositioning maneuver on resolving postural instability in patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

P J Blatt, G A Georgakakis, S J Herdman, R A Clendaniel, R J Tusa
American Journal of Otology 2000, 21 (3): 356-63

OBJECTIVE: Patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) often experience postural instability as well as brief episodes of vertigo. The purpose of this study was to determine whether successful resolution of the episodic vertigo, through use of the canalith repositioning treatment, would be accompanied by improvement in postural stability.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective clinical study.

SETTING: Outpatient tertiary care facility in a university.

PATIENTS: Thirty-three patients with a diagnosis of the canalithiasis form of BPPV affecting the posterior canal unilaterally. All patients had complete remission of the positional vertigo after treatment. Patients with abnormal caloric or rotary chair test results were excluded from the study.

INTERVENTION: The posterior canal BPPV was treated by the canalith repositioning treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Postural stability was assessed by computerized dynamic posturography before and 1 to 2 weeks after treatment. Six different subtests were used.

RESULTS: A significant number of patients had abnormal stability, as measured with computerized dynamic posturography, before treatment. After treatment there was a significant increase in the number of subjects with normal results on the different subtests; however, not all patients had normal postural stability. Younger subjects were more likely to show improved stability.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of BPPV using the canalith repositioning treatment results in improved postural stability in patients with BPPV. Not all patients have normal stability after treatment, however, and assessment and treatment of the balance problems may be necessary.

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