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Chronic vestibular syndromes in the elderly: Presbyvestibulopathy-an isolated clinical entity?

Eur J Neurol. 2022 Mar 3. doi: 10.1111/ene.15308. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35239246.

Authors/Editors: Müller KJ, Becker-Bense S, Strobl R, Grill E, Dieterich M.
Publication Date: 2022

03_mueller

Abstract

Background and purpose: Recently, the Classification Committee of the Bárány Society defined the new syndrome of "presbyvestibulopathy" for elderly patients with chronic vestibular symptoms due to a mild bilateral peripheral vestibular hypofunction. However, control of stance and gait requires multiple functioning systems, for example, the somatosensory, visual, auditory, musculoskeletal, and cardio- and cerebrovascular systems. The aim of this cross-sectional database-driven study was to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of presbyvestibulopathy and additional gait-relevant comorbidities.

Methods: In total, 707 patients aged ≥60 years with chronic vertigo/dizziness were admitted to our tertiary hospital and received detailed neurological, neuro-orthoptic, and laboratory audiovestibular examination. Medical history, comorbidities, functional impairment, and quality of life (Dizziness Handicap Inventory [DHI], European Quality of Life Scale, Vestibular Activities and Participation) were compared between presbyvestibulopathy and bilateral vestibulopathy in a matched-paired study.

Results: In 95.5% of patients, complaints were better accounted for by another vestibular, neurological, cardiac, or psychiatric disease, and 32 patients (4.5%) met the diagnostic criteria for presbyvestibulopathy. Of these 32 patients, the majority showed further relevant comorbidities in other sensorimotor systems. Only one patient of 707 had "isolated" presbyvestibulopathy (0.14%). The mean total DHI scores indicated lower moderate impairment in presbyvestibulopathy than in bilateral vestibulopathy (40.6 vs. 49.0), which was confirmed by significant differences in the matched-paired analysis (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Isolated presbyvestibulopathy is a very rare entity. It is regularly accompanied by other multisensory dysfunctions. These results indicate a potential role of mild vestibular hypofunction as a cofactor in multifactorial impairment. Thus, patients should be treated in an interdisciplinary setting with an awareness of diverse comorbidities.

 

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