Vestibular Physiotherapy Patients May Require Medical Assessment: Results of Vertigo Audit in Hutt Hospital
Introduction: To identify the type of referrals received by vestibular physiotherapists for vertigo and assess whether medical review for these patients would be appropriate.
Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective review of referral forms, vestibular assessment forms, and vertigo clinic letters of patients referred for vertigo or vestibular physiotherapy input between July 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013.
Results: We studied 29 patients with a median age of 63 years. A diagnosis was provided in 65.5% of the referrals. Of 14 patients with possible benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Dix-Hallpike had been performed only for 4 patients. Almost half were seen for the medical review in the Vertigo Clinic due to the concerns of possible alternative non-vestibular diagnosis, medication issues, or syncope. Alternative diagnoses identified medically included orthostatic hypotension, stroke, vestibular migraine, medication-induced bradycardia, and phobic postural vertigo. Medication changes in vertigo clinic included treatment for heart failure, migraine, and medication optimization.
Conclusion: Medical review is appropriate for some patients referred for vestibular physiotherapy. A medical opinion should be sought by vestibular physiotherapists if there is uncertainty or concerns that the referred patients did not have straightforward vestibular problems, or there were possible alternative diagnoses, concerns with medications, or syncope.
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