Predictors of Vertigo in Patients With Untreated Vestibular Schwannoma

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Previous studies have shown that vertigo is the most powerful negative predictor of quality of life in patients with vestibular schwannomas, but the variability in vertigo symptom severity is still poorly understood. We wanted to find out whether vertigo could be related to objective parameters such as tumor size, location, vestibular nerve function, hearing, and postural stability in patients with untreated vestibular schwannomas.

Study Design

Baseline data from prospective cohort study.


Tertiary referral center.


Four hundred thirty-four consecutive patients with unilateral VS diagnosed on MRI. Mean age 56 years (range 16–84 yr). Fifty-three percent women.


Diagnostic, with a medical history, otolaryngological examination, pure-tone and speech audiometry, MRI, posturography, and videonystagmography with bithermal caloric tests.

Main Outcome Measure

Dizziness measured on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS). Secondary outcome measures were canal paresis and postural imbalance (static and dynamic posturography).


Three hundred three patients (70%) completed the VAS. Severe dizziness, defined as VAS 75 or greater, was reported by 9% of the patients. Larger tumors were associated with higher risk of postural instability and canal paresis. Moderate to severe dizziness was associated with postural imbalance and canal paresis, and possibly with small to medium-sized tumors. Postural instability was related to tumor size and canal paresis when measured by dynamic, but not with static, posturography.


A minority of VS patients experience severe vestibular symptoms related to canal paresis and postural instability. A curvilinear relationship is hypothesized between tumor size and dizziness.

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