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TP1-9 Vestibular dysfunction in acute traumatic brain injury
  1. K Tsang,
  2. HJ Marcus,
  3. H Paine,
  4. M Sargeant,
  5. B Jones,
  6. R Smith,
  7. MH Wilson,
  8. BM Seemungal
  1. St Mary’s Hospital, London, UK


Objectives Vestibular dysfunction following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of morbidity and unemployment and has impact on the patient’s ability to rehabilitate. Chronically, up to a quarter of TBI cases have cryptogenic dizziness and imbalance, possibly due to chronic brain adaptation that masks the diagnosis. Establishing the spectrum of vestibular diagnoses in acute TBI – when they may be more obvious – may aid diagnosis in chronic TBI cases.

Design Prospective audit of referrals to specialist neuro-otology team.

Subjects Consecutive Major Trauma Ward TBI in-patients admitted between June 2014 and May 2015.

Methods All cases were screened by the therapists for vestibular symptoms and/or signs and referred for specialist neuro-otology review.

Results Of 111 patients screened, 96 had features of vestibular dysfunction. Of 96 cases, SYMPTOMS (i.e. subjective report) included: – imbalance (58.3%) – headache (50%) -dizziness (40%) Of 96 cases, SIGNS (i.e. examination) included: – gait ataxia (75.5%) – broken smooth pursuit (61.2%) – positive Hallpike (51%) – positive head impulse test (18%). The data indicate that BPPV affects 49% and headache with migraine-like features affect 40.8%. Acute peripheral unilateral vestibular loss affects 18% TBI cases.

Conclusions Vestibular dysfunction in TBI is common, typically involving peripheral and central structures, often in the same case, and requires specialist neuro-otological management.

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