Dizziness is associated with hypertension but there are numerous other causes. The aims of the present study were to describe the characteristics and the clinical correlates of dizziness in a large cohort of hypertensive patients, and to test its prognostic value for all-cause, cardiovascular, and stroke mortality.
A total of 1716 individuals from the OLD-HTA Lyon's cohort of hypertensive patients recruited in the 1970s were categorized according to the absence or the presence of dizziness. The dizziness group was subdivided into vertigo and other dizziness excluding vertigo.
Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that presence of dizziness was predicted by age, female sex, coronary artery disease, and the absence of microalbuminuria. During 30 years of follow-up, we observed 956 deaths, 508 of which with a cardiovascular cause, and 114 fatal acute strokes. In the multivariate Cox regression model, the presence of dizziness had no impact on the risk for all-cause mortality [hazard ratio 0.91; 95% CI (0.78–1.06)], cardiovascular mortality [hazard ratio 0.86; 95% CI (0.70–1.05)], or stroke mortality [hazard ratio 1.27; 95% CI (0.85–1.90)]. In an analysis of the different subgroups of dizziness, only vertigo had a prognostic impact. The increased risk was particularly marked on stroke death with a hazard ratio of 2.43 (95% CI 1.33–4.46) vs. patients without dizziness and 2.22 (95% CI 1.21–4.06) vs. patients with dizziness excluding vertigo.
Hypertensive patients with dizziness did not have a high-risk profile at baseline, but those with vertigo must be carefully followed over years because of the higher stroke mortality.