BACKGROUND/AIMS: Unsteadiness in the elderly is a frequent complaint and a strong predictor of falls and psychological distress. Although there is a general consensus that it is a multifactorial condition, recent studies have focused on the role of aging of the vestibular system as a possible cofactor. The aim of our work was to assess horizontal canal function in the elderly. METHODS: We evaluated the gain of horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) with a video head impulse test on a sample of 58 subjects aged >70 years without lifetime episodes of vertigo and correlated the value with different clinical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, prior cardiovascular and vascular disorders of the central nervous system, and falls). RESULTS: The mean value of the gain was 0.86 ± 0.12, and people aged between 70 and 80 years presented higher values (0.90 ± 0.1) compared to those >80 years (0.81 ± 0.13; p = 0.025). Previous vascular disorders of the central nervous system were a predictor of decreased VOR gain (p = 0.0003). A nonparametric analysis demonstrated that sex, age, and VOR gain (p ˂ 0.0001) were predictive of falls. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the hypothesis of a decrease of VOR gain in the elderly. The decrease of canal function may therefore play a role in the risk of falls in the elderly. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||ORL; journal for oto-rhino-laryngology and its related specialties|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|