Factors Associated with Rehabilitation Outcomes in Patients with Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction: A Prospective Cohort Study

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Objective:The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with rehabilitation outcomes following vestibular rehabilitation (VR).

Methods:In this prospective cohort study, 116 patients who completed at least 2 supervised sessions participated. Patient characteristics and comorbidities were recorded. Initial and discharge measures included symptom intensity, balance confidence, quality of life, time symptoms interfere with life, perceived benefits of VR, gait speed, fall risk, visual acuity during head movement, and anxiety/depression. Intention-to-treat analyses were performed to determine outcomes at discharge. Bivariate correlations between independent (group characteristics and baseline measures) and dependent (discharge measures) variables were determined. Logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with whether a patient would have a normal score or meaningful change at discharge.

Results:There was a large effect of VR with significant improvement for the group as a whole on each outcome measure. For each outcome measure most patients improved. Based on preliminary logistic regression, 2 patient characteristics were associated with outcome: number of therapy visits predicted meaningful improvement in gait speed and falls after the onset of the UVH predicted meaningful change in the percent of time symptoms interfered with life. Initial Activities-based Balance Confidence (ABC) scale and Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) scores predicted normal ABC scores at discharge, and initial ABC scores predicted recovery of DGI scores. Preliminary prediction models were generated for balance confidence, impact of dizziness on life, dynamic visual acuity, gait speed, and fall risk.

Conclusions:Therapists may use these findings for patient education or the need for adjunct therapy such as counseling.

Impact:Not all people with UVH improve following VR, but there is little research examining why. This study looked at multiple factors and identified number of visits and falls after onset of UVH as patient characteristics associated with outcomes following VR, which will help therapists create better predictive models.