The Dizziness Handicap Inventory and Its Relationship With Functional Balance Performance

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Objective:The purpose of this study was to describe the relation between the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and balance performance measures.Study Design:Retrospective case series.Setting:Outpatient balance clinic in a tertiary referral center.Patients:Patients referred with dizziness or imbalance of vestibular and nonvestibular origin.Outcome Measures:DHI, Romberg with Jendrassik maneuver, standing on foam, tandem Romberg, single-leg stance, the timed up and go test, the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI), tandem gait, and the 10-m walking test.Results:The mean age of participants (n = 214) was 53.9 years. The mean DHI total score was 35.1, ranging from 0 to 96. Spearman rank correlation coefficients (rS) between DHI and the static balance tests were fair and ranged between −0.42 (p < 0.01) for single-leg stance with eyes closed and −0.51 (p < 0.01) for single-leg stance with eyes open. Only the Romberg test with Jendrassik maneuver correlated weakly (rS = −0.25; p < 0.01) with the DHI. Correlations with the walking tests were moderate, the connection with the DGI being the strongest one (rS = −0.69; p < 0.01). Forty-two percent of the variance in DHI scores in our patients was accounted for by the DGI score (r2 = 0.417).Conclusion:Functional balance tests involving locomotion correlate better with DHI scores when compared with static balance measures. The DGI explains a large component of handicap in dizzy and unsteady patients, which advocates its use in these patients.

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