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Phys Ther. 2010 May;90(5):663-78. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20090071. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Effectiveness of particle repositioning maneuvers in the treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Midwestern University, 555 31st St, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA.



Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo.


The purpose of this systematic review was to determine whether patients diagnosed with posterior canal (PC) BPPV, based on positional testing, and treated with a particle repositioning maneuver will show the resolution of benign paroxysmal positional nystagmus (BPPN) on the Dix-Hallpike Test performed 24 hours or more after treatment.


Data were obtained from an electronic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases from 1966 through September 2009.


The study topics were randomized controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-RCTs, the diagnosis of PC BPPV, treatment with the particle repositioning maneuver, and outcome measured with a positional test 24 hours or more after treatment.


Data extracted were study descriptors and the information used to code for effect size.


In 2 double-blind RCTs, the odds in favor of the resolution of BPPN were 22 times (95% confidence interval=3.41-141.73) and 37 times (95% confidence interval=8.75-159.22) higher in people receiving the canalith repositioning procedure (CRP) than in people receiving a sham treatment. This finding was supported by the results reported in 8 nonmasked quasi-RCTs. Studies with limited methodological quality suggested that a liberatory maneuver (LM) was more effective than a control intervention; there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of the LM and the effectiveness of the CRP; the self-administered CRP was more effective than the self-administered LM; and the CRP administered together with the self-administered CRP was more effective than the CRP administered alone. The Brandt-Daroff exercises were the least effective self-administered treatments.


The limitations included the methodological quality of the studies, the lack of quality-of-life measures, and confounding factors in reporting vertigo.


Randomized controlled trials provided strong evidence that the CRP resolves PC BPPN, and quasi-RCTs suggested that the CRP or the LM performed by a clinician or with proper instruction at home by the patient resolves PC BPPN. There were no data on the effects of the maneuvers on outcomes relevant to patients.

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