Screening people in the waiting room for vestibular impairments

South Med J. 2014 Sep;107(9):549-53. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.000000000000017.


Objective: Primary care physicians need good screening tests of the vestibular system to help them determine whether patients who complain of dizziness should be evaluated for vestibular disorders. The goal of this study was to determine whether current, widely used screening tests of the vestibular system predict subsequent performance on objective diagnostic tests of the vestibular system (ENG).

Methods: Of 300 subjects who were recruited from the waiting room of a primary care clinic and were screened there, 69 subjects subsequently volunteered for ENGs in the otolaryngology department. The screening study included age, history of vertigo, head impulse tests, Dix-Hallpike maneuvers, and the Clinical Test of Sensory Integration and Balance with the head still and the head pitching at 0.33 Hz. The ENG included Dix-Hallpike maneuvers, vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials, bithermal water caloric tests, and low-frequency sinusoids in the rotatory chair in darkness.

Results: The scores on the screening were related to the total ENG, but odds ratios were not significant for some variables, probably because of the small sample size.

Conclusions: A larger sample may have yielded stronger results, but in general the high odds ratios suggest a relation between the ENG score and Dix-Hallpike responses and between the ENG scores and some Clinical Test of Sensory Integration and Balance responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dizziness / diagnosis
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits*
  • Physical Examination
  • Postural Balance
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Vestibular Diseases / complications
  • Vestibular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Vestibular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials
  • Vestibular Function Tests*
  • Young Adult