Symptoms experienced by patients with peripheral vestibular disorders: evaluation of the Vertigo Symptom Scale for clinical application

Clin Otolaryngol. 2007 Dec;32(6):440-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-4486.2007.01552.x.


Objectives: To describe symptoms during an episode of dizziness in a sample of patients suffering from peripheral vestibular disorders and to compare them with the items in the Vertigo Symptom Scale.

Design: A descriptive study from a sample of patients with peripheral vestibular disorders.

Setting: Patients visiting a department of audiology at a university hospital.

Participants: Twenty patients with peripheral vestibular disorders. The inclusion criteria were that the patient had had at least three spontaneous attacks of vertigo and/or was constantly unsteady during the last 3 months for at least 75% of the time when awake.

Main outcome measures: Patients were instructed to complete a diary where they recorded symptoms that arose during an episode of dizziness. These symptoms were compared with the content of the Vertigo Symptom Scale.

Results: The most frequent symptoms as mentioned by the patients in their diaries were a feeling that things are spinning or moving around, nausea, feeling unsteady/about to lose one's balance, fatigue, headache, a feeling as if the ground you walk on is distant and ear-related such as tinnitus and a feeling of pressure in the ear. Pain in the heart or chest region, a heavy feeling in the arms or legs, pain in the lower part of the back and excessive sweating were not mentioned at all or by very few patients. Analysis showed that some of the symptoms included in the Vertigo Symptom Scale occurred less during an episode of dizziness than others in this sample of patients with peripheral vestibular disorders.

Conclusion: It was found that the Vertigo Symptom Scale is an adequate base but may need to be developed for use in patients diagnosed with peripheral vestibular symptoms to be able to evaluate care and treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records*
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Vertigo / psychology
  • Vestibular Diseases / complications*