Objective: To assess the sensations of instability that many patients report after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Design: A controlled study.
Setting: A motion analysis and vestibular and balance laboratory.
Participants: Twenty subjects, 10 with TBI and complaints of instability, and 10 without TBI.
Interventions: Balance and gait analysis.
Main outcome measures: Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), caloric irrigation, optokinetic testing, Dix-Hallpike Test, posturography, and center of mass (COM) movement.
Results: Subjects were well matched in terms of age, height, weight, and gender. DHI scores of those with and without TBI differed significantly (32.2+/-23.0 vs 0.2+/-0.63, P<.001). Caloric and optokinetic circularvection testing were abnormal only in subjects with TBI (8/10 and 4/10, respectively). Benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo was present in only 3 subjects with TBI, and this either resolved spontaneously (n=1) or was successfully treated (n=2). Composite posturography scores of those with and without TBI differed significantly (69.6+/-35.8 vs 79.5+/-40.5, P=.02). Gait parameters also differed significantly between the groups (P=.05), with the subjects with TBI having lower anterior and posterior and higher medial and lateral COM displacements and velocities.
Conclusions: Patients' complaints of instability after TBI may have objective correlates and may be rectifiable. Balance and gait testing in these patients is warranted.
Copyright 2003 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation