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Otol Neurotol. 2004 Mar;25(2):139-43.

Is perception of handicap related to functional performance in persons with vestibular dysfunction?

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Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Centers for Rehab Services, University Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine if scores between 0 and 30 (mild), 31 and 60 (moderate), and 61 and 100 (severe) on the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) differentiated a person's functional abilities.


Retrospective case series.


Tertiary balance outpatient center.


Patients (n = 85; mean age, 61 years) with a variety of vestibular diagnoses participated.


Patients completed the DHI, the Dynamic Gait Index (DGI), the 5 times sit to stand test (FTSST), the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, gait speed, and the Timed "Up & Go" (TUG) during the same session. Reported numbers of falls within the last 4 weeks were recorded.


The DGI, FTSST, ABC, gait speed, TUG, and gait speed were compared among DHI groups.


Significant differences were identified using an analysis of variance between DHI groups on the DGI, the FTSST, ABC, and number of falls (p < 0.05). A significant difference was found between DHI groups (mild vs. severe and moderate vs. severe) on the DGI (p < 0.05) with greater DHI scores exhibiting more impaired walking. The FTSST was different between DHI groups mild and severe and DHI groups moderate and severe (p < 0.05), with slower FTSST scores with higher DHI scores. Reported falls were higher among the severe DHI group and the other 2 DHI groups (p < 0.05). All 3 DHI groupings were different from each other on the ABC (p < 0.001).


Patients who perceive a greater handicap as a result of dizziness demonstrate greater functional impairment than patients who perceive less handicap from dizziness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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