Effect of age on treatment outcomes in benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: A systematic review

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Jan;70(1):281-293. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17485. Epub 2021 Oct 26.


Background: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) can lead to an increased fall risk in older adults. Therefore, we examined the influence of age on the effectiveness of canalith-repositioning procedures (CRPs) for the treatment of BPPV.

Methods: Pubmed, Web of Science, and the bibliographies of selected articles were searched for studies conducted before September 2020 that examined the effectiveness of treatments for BPPV in various age groups. Meta-analyses were performed to compare treatment effectiveness and recurrence rates for younger and older adults. Odds ratios were calculated in a random-effects model. Mean differences were calculated using a fixed-effects model. A significance level of p < 0.05 (95% confidence interval) was set. The risk of bias and the methodological quality of all included articles were examined.

Results: Forty-five studies were retrieved after full-text screening, of which 29 studies were included for a qualitative review. The remaining 16 studies were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis (3267 participants with BPPV). The success rate of a single CRP was higher in the younger group (72.5% vs. 67%, p < 0.001). An average of 1.4 and 1.5 CRPs was needed for complete recovery in the younger and older groups, respectively (p = 0.02). However, global treatment success did not differ between these groups (97.5% vs. 94.6%, p = 0.41). The recurrence rate was higher in the older population (23.2% vs. 18.6%, p = 0.007).

Conclusions: Although more CRPs are needed, the rate of complete recovery in older adults is similar to that observed in younger adults.

Keywords: aging; benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; older adults; recurrence; treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review