Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp 684–689

One-year outcome for patients with a chief complaint of dizziness

  • Kurt Kroenke
  • Christine Lucas
  • Michael L. Rosenberg
  • Barbara Scherokman
  • Jerome E. Herbers
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF02599010

Cite this article as:
Kroenke, K., Lucas, C., Rosenberg, M.L. et al. J Gen Intern Med (1994) 9: 684. doi:10.1007/BF02599010

Abstract

Objective: To determine the one-year outcome for patients with a chief complaint of dizziness that had persisted at least two weeks.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Federal teaching hospital.

Patients: 100 dizzy patients and 25 control subjects.

Measurements: The primary outcome was dizziness status (improved or not improved); the secondary outcomes were morbidity and health care utilization.

Results: The dizziness resolved for 18 patients, whereas the status improved for 37, stayed the same for 32, and worsened for 11, with two patients lost to follow-up. Thus, 55% of patients whose dizziness had not resolved two weeks after their initial visits improved over the subsequent 12 months. Logistic regression revealed four independent predictors of persistent dizziness at one-year follow-up: dizziness due to psychiatric causes, dysequilibrium, vertigo other than benign positional vertigo, vestibular neuronitis, or migraine (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% CI, 2.1–18.6); daily dizziness (odds ratio, 6.4; 95% CI, 2.0–21.0); dizziness worse with walking (odds ratio, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1–9.0); and patient had initially feared a serious illness (odds ratio, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.10–0.74). These four factors could be used to classify patients as having either a high (82%), medium (47%), or low (0%) likelihood of improvement at one-year follow-up. One patient died from heart failure, and none developed a serious disease for which dizziness had been a harbinger. Dizziness was not associated with an increased number of clinic visits.

Conclusions: Among patients with a chief complaint of dizziness who are still symptomatic at two-week follow-up, more than half improve within a year. Clinical factors identify patients at higher risk for persistent dizziness.

Key words

dizziness prognosis outcomes morbidity health care utilization vertigo 

Copyright information

© The Society of General Internal Medicine 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Kroenke
    • 1
  • Christine Lucas
    • 1
  • Michael L. Rosenberg
    • 2
    • 3
  • Barbara Scherokman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jerome E. Herbers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesda
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesda
  3. 3.the Walter Reed Army Medical CenterWashington, DC
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesda

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