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The Effects of Vestibular Rehabilitation after Bilateral Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence: A Case Report

DOI: 10.4236/ijcm.2017.86042, PP. 439-461

Keywords: Physical Therapy, Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence, Vestibular Rehabilitation, Gaze Stabilization

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Background and Purpose: Despite the strong body of evidence for vestibular rehabilitation, research is lacking for effective clinical management of patients with superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD) and endolymphatic hydrops (EH). The purpose of this case report is to describe the effects of physical therapy in the treatment of a patient diagnosed with bilateral SSCD. Case Description: The patient was a 56-year-old woman with a long-standing otologic history involving bilateral SSCD and EH. The patient’s body structure and function impairments include constant headaches, dizziness with head rotation and eye movements, sensitivity to sounds and lights, and instability during gait. Her activity limitations include lower extremity dressing, driving, and playing her flute. Her participation restrictions include taking part in social gatherings, going to church, driving longer than 30 minutes, playing with her dogs, and teaching flute lessons. Interventions: Specific interventions included vestibular habituation and adaptation exercises, balance and gait training, and patient education. Physical therapy services were provided for approximately 11 weeks with a frequency of two times per week. Outcomes: After eleven weeks of physical therapy, the patient made improvements on the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (43/80 to 52/80), the Dynamic Gait Index (19/24 to 24/24), the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (86/100 to 68/100), and the Sharpened Romberg (2 seconds to >30 seconds). The patient improved in all her activity limitations and participation restrictions. She was able to play her flute for 20-minute intervals, play with her dogs, partake in social gatherings, and drive for 5 hours without symptoms. The patient had plans to pursue surgical intervention within the next year. Discussion: For a patient with a complex otologic history and a current diagnosis of bilateral SSCD, vestibular rehabilitation was an effective management option. The information from this case can be used to guide the effective treatment of similar patients diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction.


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