Health-related quality of life in patients over sixty years old with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Maria J Gámiz, Jose A Lopez-Escamez
Gerontology 2004, 50 (2): 82-6

BACKGROUND: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common cause of dizziness within the geriatric population causing disability. The diagnosis is established by the position-induced rotatory nystagmus, related to the involved ear, demonstrated by the Dix-Hallpike test (DHT). Although the Epley's modified manoeuvre, or particle respositioning manoeuvre (PRM), is an effective treatment for this disorder, its impact on health outcome in patients over 60 years old is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To assess BPPV health-related quality of life in elderly individuals using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory Short Form (DHI-S).

METHODS: A prospective study including new cases of BPPV in patients older than 60 years was carried out. The diagnosis was based on the history of recurrent sudden crises of vertigo and a typical positional-induced nystagmus during the DHT. All patients were treated by a single PRM and relapses were investigated a the 30th post-treatment day.

RESULTS: DHT was found negative in 82% (23/28) individuals at 30 days. The eight scales of the SF-36 have a good internal consistency reliability in patients with BPPV (Cronbach's alpha > 0.7). The average standardized score for each SF-36 scale was compared with the reference population normative data, showing differences with norms for role physical, body pain, social function, role emotional and mental health. After PRM, patients restored scores to norms, showing a significant increase in role physical (p < 0.05), body pain (p < 0.04), vitality (p < 0.02), social function (p < 0.003) and mental health scores (p < 0.005). DHI-S total score significantly decreased from 17.19 +/- 9.06 (mean +/- SD) at the first day to 9.70 +/- 10.13 at 30 days (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: BPPV has a significant impact on health-related quality of life in elderly patients on their emotional and physical states compared to those unaffected. The PRM can restore health-related quality of life in elderly patients with BPPV.

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