Posturography Changes Do Not Predict Functional Performance Changes

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Abstract

Objective: Essentially no data exist to assess the utility of posturography, a frequently used test of standing balance in measuring change. The authors examined 1) how changes in posturography relate to functional balance changes as measured in the clinic and gait laboratory and 2) posturography's role and value in assessing patients with vestibular dysfunction.

Study Design: A correlational research design was used.

Setting: This study was conducted at a large, urban U.S. tertiary referral hospital.

Patients: Thirty-seven subjects (22 females and 15 males) with peripheral vestibular hypofunction and stable symptoms participated. Patients with central nervous system pathology were excluded from this study.

Interventions and Main Outcome Measures: Subjects were tested before and after 6–8 weeks of vestibular rehabilitation with Equitest posturography sensory organization test (SOT), with timed quasistatic bilateral standing in tandem, on foam, and one leg; and with functional balance measures including gait velocity, a modified Timed Up & Go, gait with head rotation, gait with eyes closed, and tandem gait.

Results: Changes in SOT were not predictive of, nor often even directly correlated with, changes in quasistatic standing or functional performance.

Conclusions: These data suggest that posturography SOT alone is not a useful tool to assess balance and functional changes in patients with vestibular hypofunction.

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