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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence of Pediatric Dizziness and Imbalance in the United States

Jacob R Brodsky, Sophie Lipson, Neil Bhattacharyya
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2019 November 5, : 194599819887375
31689154

OBJECTIVES: Understand the prevalence of vestibular symptoms in US children.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.

SETTING: 2016 National Health Interview Survey.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Responses from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey for children ages 3 to 17 years were examined to determine the prevalence of vestibular symptoms and provider-assigned diagnoses.

RESULTS: Dizziness or imbalance was reported in 3.5 (95% confidence interval, 3.1-3.9) million patients (5.6%) with a mean age of 11.5 years. Dizziness was reported in 1.2 million patients (2.0%) with a mean age of 12.7 years and balance impairment in 2.3 million patients (3.7%) with a mean age of 10.6 years. Prevalence of dizziness and imbalance did not vary by sex ( P = .6, P = .2). Evaluation by a health professional was reported for 42% of patients with dizziness and 43% of patients with imbalance, with diagnoses reported in 45% and 48% of patients with dizziness and imbalance, respectively. The most common diagnoses reported for dizziness were depression or child psychiatric disorder (12%), side effects from medications (11%), head/neck injury or concussion (8.4%), and developmental motor coordination disorder (8.3%). The most common diagnoses reported for imbalance were blurred vision with head motion, "bouncing" or rapid eye movements (9.1%), depression or child psychiatric disorder (6.2%), head/neck injury or concussion (6.1%), and side effects from medications (5.9%).

CONCLUSION: The national prevalence of childhood vestibular symptoms is more common than previously thought. Reported diagnoses varied greatly from the literature, suggesting a need for increased awareness of causes of vestibular symptoms in children.

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