Test-Retest Reliability of Measuring the Vertebral Arterial Blood Flow Velocity in People With Cervicogenic Dizziness

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Abstract

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to determine the within-session and between-sessions reliability of measuring the vertebral artery blood flow velocities in people with cervicogenic dizziness using Doppler ultrasound at both upper and lower cervical levels.

Methods:

Outcome measures were taken on 2 occasions 3 weeks apart with no active treatment provided in between the assessments on 12 participants. Pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasound was used to quantify time-averaged mean velocities through the vertebral artery at upper cervical (C0-1) and lower cervical vertebrae (C5-6). The clinical outcome measures were also recorded in people with cervicogenic dizziness. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to determine the within-session and between-session repeatability. Paired t test was used to determine the differences in the time-averaged mean velocities of blood flow at the same site of the vertebral artery and the clinical outcome measures in 2 sessions 3 weeks apart.

Results:

In people with cervicogenic dizziness, there was no significant change in both clinical outcome measures and the time-averaged mean velocities when the patients were measured 3 weeks apart (P > .05). This study identified good within-session (ICC: 0.903-0.967) and between-session (ICC: 0.922-0.984) repeatability in measuring the vertical blood flow velocities in patients with cervicogenic dizziness when the clinical outcome measures were unchanged.

Conclusions:

This study supports the use of Doppler ultrasound to identify changes in mean vertebral arterial blood flow velocities before and after intervention in people with cervicogenic dizziness in future studies.

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