Vestibular Rehabilitation Affects Vestibular Asymmetry among Patients with Fall-Related Wrist Fractures - A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Background: Fall-related fractures are an increasing problem for society. Dizziness is identified as a risk factor for falls and vestibular asymmetry is often found among patients with fall-related fractures. An option to prevent fall-related fractures may be to identify patients with vestibular asymmetry and to improve their balance and asymmetry by exercise. Objective: To examine whether vestibular rehabilitation improves vestibular function, balance and self-rated health among patients with fall-related wrist fractures. Methods: Sixty-eight persons (65 women) with fall-related wrist fractures, mean age 72 years (54-89) participated in this randomized controlled trial. The following tests and measurements were performed: head shake test to evaluate vestibular asymmetry as primary outcome measure, five clinical balance measures, a force plate to measure postural sway, a tuning fork to measure vibration and the EQ5D questionnaire to measure self-rated health. The intervention comprised group-based vestibular rehabilitation sessions conducted twice a week for 9 weeks. Results: Nystagmus occurred in the head shake test in 65% (44 of 68) of the patients, indicating vestibular asymmetry. More patients in the intervention group (6 of 21) than in the control group (0 of 23) changed from having nystagmus in the head shake test at baseline (indicating vestibular asymmetry) to not having nystagmus at follow-up, and more patients in the control group (3 of 9) than in the intervention group (0 of 3) changed from not having nystagmus at baseline to have nystagmus at follow-up (p < 0.00). No other changes occurred between the two groups between baseline and follow-up. At baseline, patients with vestibular asymmetry had more balance deficits and increased postural sway compared to patients without (p = 0.00-0.05). Conclusion: Group sessions with vestibular rehabilitation twice a week for 9 weeks affected the occurrence of vestibular asymmetry positively among patients having vestibular asymmetry. Patients with vestibular asymmetry had more balance deficits and increased postural sway than patients without vestibular asymmetry. Vestibular assessment is important, and, in patients with diagnosed vestibular asymmetry, vestibular rehabilitation may prove beneficial on balance and possibly reduce the risk of future falls. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch