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OTORINOLARINGOLOGIA

A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
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Otorinolaringologia 2003 March;53(1):1-9

language: Italian

Equilibrium disorders in the elderly: clinical-physiopathologic observations and computerized stabilometric study

Giuliano D. A. 1, Costanza G. 2, Gallina S. 1, Speciale R. 1, Barone G. 2, Restivo S. 1

1 Clinica Otorinolarinolaringoiatrica Base Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo
2 Clinica Medica II Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo


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Background. Equilibrium disorders represent one of the most important causes of disability in the elderly. The aim of the study is to assess the equilibrium subsystems (visual, somatosensorial and vestibular one) involvement and the fundamental postural strategies in an elderly patients group with different conditions of dysequilibrium, using a recently developed stabilimetric tool called Tetraataxiometry.
Methods. Twenty-five subjects aged more than 65 years (mean age±SD: 71,4±4,8 years; age range 65-80 y; 10 males, 15 females) have been enrolled. Patients were subjected to general and otoneurologic anamnesis, medical examination, otoscopy, spontaneous vestibular signs examination, other instrumental and physical tests (cervical verterbal column radiogram, epiaortic blod vessels eco-Doppler, Dix-Hallpike and Mc Clure-Pagnini maneuvers), tetraataxiometry.
Results. The tetraataxiometric investigation has shown that subjects with greater multisensorial deficit had a bigger somatic stability in visual-somatosensorial deprivation conditions, the most damaged equilibrium subsystem was the somatosensorial one, special postural strategies didn’t exist and there was a fine postural system involvement in any case.
Conclusions. The results of the study show that equilibrium disorders in the elderly arise from the association between a progressive multisensorial deficit and several vascular, dysmetabolic, neuromuscular and osteoarticular risk factors. The tetraataxiometric information suggest that in the elderly there is a reduced cerebellar ability in the peripheral sensorial input elaboration and an evident aptitude for falls, even if the equilibrium disorders reported aren’t important.

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