Balance and spatial orientation complaints are very frequent in the elderly. The aetiology of these complaints may be related to specific peripheral or central vestibular disorders or to an extravestibular dizziness resulting from impairment or disease in multiple systems. A preliminary diagnostic orientation, permitting the patient to be referred to the most appropriate specialist (otologist, neurologist, consultant in internal medicine, psychiatrist, physical therapist) would be very useful. We examined 163 patients, referred for balance and spatial orientation complaints to the otoneurological outpatient services of 6 university hospital centres in the northern and central Italy, by a detailed questionnaire about characteristics, frequency, duration of any dizziness symptom and by a bedside vestibular examination. The questions were designed to determine whether the patients suffered from true vertigo, considered to be an expression of a vestibular disorder, or of an aspecific dizziness of multifactorial origin. Comparison of the conclusions of the vestibular examination and the diagnostic hypotheses deduced from the clinical history showed a high degree of concordance (Cohen Index 70.5%). To the patient, vertigo and dizziness are synonymous. By asking appropriate questions, a clearer picture should begin to emerge from the patient complaints so that distinction between psychogenic, nonvestibular and vestibular causes can be made. The importance of obtaining a good history cannot be overemphasized. A correct and rigorous approach by the general practitioner could be of great utility both for the health of the patient and for the efficiency of the national health service. The vestibular examination proved that about half the patients (80/163) suffered from vestibular disorders, mainly of peripheral origin (BPV, Menière's disease, vestibular neuritis).
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|Titolo:||The role of clinical history in the evaluation of balance and spatial orientation disorders in the elderly | [Il ruolo della storia clinica nella valutazione dei disturbi vertiginoso-posturali dell'anziano.]|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2005|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|