METHODS In a primary care prospective cohort study, 417 older adults with dizziness (mean age 79 years) received a full diagnostic workup in 2006-2008. A panel of physicians classified the subtype and primary cause of dizziness. Main outcome measures were mortality and dizziness-related impairment assessed at 10-year follow-up.
RESULTS At 10-year follow-up 169 patients (40.5%) had died. Presyncope was the most common dizziness subtype (69.1%), followed by vertigo (41.0%), disequilibrium (39.8%), and other dizziness (1.7%). The most common primary causes of dizziness were cardiovascular disease (56.8%) and peripheral vestibular disease (14.4%). Multivariable adjusted Cox models showed a lower mortality rate for patients with the subtype vertigo compared with other subtypes (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.40-0.96), and for peripheral vestibular disease vs cardiovascular disease as primary cause of dizziness (HR = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.25-0.84). After 10 years, 47.7% of patients who filled out the follow-up measurement experienced substantial dizziness-related impairment. No significant difference in substantial impairment was seen between different subtypes and primary causes of dizziness.
CONCLUSIONS The 10-year mortality rate was lower for the dizziness subtype vertigo compared with other subtypes. Patients with dizziness primarily caused by peripheral vestibular disease had a lower mortality rate than patients with cardiovascular disease. Substantial dizziness-related impairment in older patients with dizziness 10 years later is high, and indicates that current treatment strategies by family physicians may be suboptimal.
- Physical and Mental Health
- general practice
- primary care