Objective: To evaluate the efficiency of the rehabilitative protocols in patients with labyrinthine hypofunction, focusing on computerized dynamic visual acuity test (DVAt) and Gaze stabilization test (GST) specifically evaluating the vestibulo-oculomotor reflex (VOR) changes due to vestibular rehabilitation.
Design: Consecutive sample study.
Setting: Day hospital in Ears, Nose, and Throat Rehabilitation Unit.
Subjects: Thirty-two patients with chronic dizziness with a mean age of 60.74 years.
Intervention: Patients performed one cycle of 12 daily rehabilitation sessions (2 h each) consisting of exercises aimed at improving VOR gain. The rehabilitation program included substitutional and/or habitudinal exercises, exercises on a stability platform, and exercises on a moving footpath with rehabilitative software.
Main Measures: Dizziness Handicap Inventory and Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale. Computerized dynamic posturography, computerized DVAt, and GST.
Results: The patients significantly improved in all the tests.
Conclusion: Vestibular rehabilitation improved the quality of life by reducing the handicap index and improving the ability in everyday tasks. The recovery of the vestibular-ocular reflex and vestibular-spinal reflex efficiency was objectively proven by instrumental testing. The DVAt and the GST allow to objectively quantify the fixation ability at higher frequencies and speeds (main VOR function). Moreover, these new parameters permit to completely evaluate vestibular rehabilitation outcomes, adding new information to the generally used tests that only assess vestibulospinal reflex.
ENT Rehabilitation Unit, San Raffaele Pisana Scientific Institute Tosinvest Sanità, Via della Pisana, Rome, Italy
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Davide Tufarelli, M.D., ENT Rehabilitation Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute Tosinvest Sanità, Via della Pisana 235, 00163 Rome, Italy; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org