Clinical characteristics in patients with cervicogenic dizziness: A systematic review
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Background and aims: Cervicogenic dizziness (CD) is a clinical syndrome of dizziness associated with neck dysfunction. CD represents a considerable diagnostic challenge since dizziness and neck pain are common symptoms with complex and multifactorial etiologies. Both research and clinical work on CD is limited by the lack of accepted diagnostic criteria. The aim of this study was to review clinical studies on CD and to assess current evidence regarding the clinical characteristics of this syndrome.
Methods: A comprehensive PubMed and MEDLINE search was conducted from the date of inception of the database, with the last search conducted in September 2018. Included studies had to contain operable diagnostic criteria as well as a comparison between patients considered to have CD and a clinical comparison group. Data extracted were clinical outcomes, diagnostic criteria, age, sex, and sample size. Studies were assessed for methodological quality using the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool.
Results: Out of 2161 screened studies, eight studies comprising 225 patients met the inclusion criteria. Studies were of low to acceptable methodological quality. The most frequent and consistent clinical characteristic in patients classified as having CD, compared with other populations, was reduced posturographic stability. The most consistent diagnostic criteria were based on the concurrence of neck pain with dizziness after exclusion of other possible reasons for dizziness.
Conclusion: There are few studies examining clinical characteristics in patients with cervicogenic dizziness. Altered posturography appeared to be the only consistent characteristic used when distinguishing CD from other populations. Diagnostic criteria currently used in research are likely to have low specificity, since they rest on the exclusion of other causes rather than on positive distinctive features. More studies are needed to better understand the clinical interrelations between dizziness and neck pain.