[Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: follow-up of 165 cases treated by Semont's liberating maneuver]

G F Coppo, S Singarelli, P Fracchia
Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica 1996, 16 (6): 508-12
The purpose of the present work has been to evaluate the effectiveness of the Semont's liberatory maneuver in treating benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) stemming from lithiasis of the posterior semicircular canal. After taking an overview of the history, epidemiology and clinical manifestation of this pathology, the cases studied are presented: 165 cases of BPPV of the posterior semicircular canal diagnosed between September 1992 and December 1994 at the Audiology and E.N.T. Clinic of the Santo Spirito Hospital in Casale Monferrato, Italy. Diagnosis was based on careful examination of the case history and the finding of typical paroxysmal positional vertigo. Among the 1096 patients who came under observation for vertigo or instability, the incidence of BPPV was rather high: approximately 23%, predominantly females (64% of the cases). In 56% of the cases the right labyrinth was involved while the left labyrinth was involved in 39% (in 5% the form was bilateral). The average age of the patients was 60 years, with incidence being greatest in the 6th and 7th decades of life. In 10% of the cases the etiology was traumatic (cranial, cervical trauma or post otological or general surgery), in 5% it was of viral origin, in 1% of vascular origin; however, in the vast majority of cases (84%) it was idiopathic. All the patients were treated with the Semont's liberatory maneuver (repeated 1-3 times in subsequent sessions at 48 hour intervals). A full 62% of the patients treated were freed of the disorder after a single maneuver and 95.5% after 3 treatments. In 5% of the cases (3 very elderly patients), the disorder persisted even after rehabilitation with Brand Daroff's exercises. To evaluate the evolution in time, all the patients were sent a written questionnaire aimed at determining the progression of symptoms, any recurrences, the number of recurrences, and the length of time from the date of treatment. In the case of positive response, the patients were invited in for a clinical-instrumental check-up. This follow-up ranged from 6 to 30 months. At the end of May 1995 the case breakdown was as follows: 80.7% of the patients were still symptom free, most being quite satisfied with the results; 18% had had one or more recurrence of the paroxysmal positional vertigo which were successfully treated by one or more application of the Semont's maneuver.

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