Objective: To compare the outcome and probability of recurrence in a series of patients with unilateral idiopathic benign paroxysmal positional vertigo of the posterior canal (PC-BPPV) that were randomly treated by Brandt-Daroff exercise (B-D exercise) or by particle repositioning maneuver (PRM).
Study design: Randomized prospective clinical trial.
Setting: Tertiary referral center.
Patients: Patients were included in this study if they complained of vertigo and had been diagnosed as having unilateral idiopathic PC-BPPV for at least 1 week before Dix-Hallpike maneuver (DHM), remained for 30 days in the randomly assigned treatment, and had at least 48 months' follow-up.
Intervention: Forty-one patients were treated with a single PRM and 40 patients by B-D exercise.
Main outcome measure: Resolution of benign paroxysmal positional nystagmus on the DHM. The probability of recurrence was also studied.
Results: At Day 7, DHM was negative in 80.5% of the PRM-treated patients and in 25% of those treated by B-D exercise (p < 0.001). At Month 1, the differences between both treatment groups remained statistically significant (92.7% in PRM versus 42.5% in the B-D exercise had a negative DHM; p < 0.001). The variable that influenced that DHM became negative was the PRM (RR = 4.8; 95% confidence interval, 2.5-9.2; p < 0.001). The number of recurrences in PRM and B-D exercise were 0.56 ± 0.8 and 0.48 ± 0.8, respectively (p = 0.48). The recurrence rate at 48 months was 35.5% (15/41) in B-D exercise and 36.6% (9/31) in the PRM group (p = 0.62). Although the time interval until the first recurrence was similar (p = 0.44), patients included in the PRM group showed a significantly longer time interval between the first and second recurrence (p = 0.04).
Conclusion: PRM is more effective treatment and as safe as B-D exercise in the short term for unilateral and idiopathic PC-BPPV, and although it does not reduce the probability of recurrence in the 4-year follow-up period compared with B-D exercise, it may delay the second recurrence's onset in those patients who had already experienced a single recurrence. Our study supports the use of PRM as the treatment of choice in unilateral and idiopathic PC-BPPV, although exercise may be also considered as an alternative treatment in selected cases.