One-year outcome for patients with a chief complaint of dizziness

Kurt Kroenke, Christine Lucas, Michael L. Rosenberg, Barbara Scherokman, Jerome E. Herbers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the one-year outcome for patients with a chief complaint of dizziness that had persisted at least two weeks. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Federal teaching hospital. Patients: 100 dizzy patients and 25 control subjects. Measurements: The primary outcome was dizziness status (improved or not improved); the secondary outcomes were morbidity and health care utilization. Results: The dizziness resolved for 18 patients, whereas the status improved for 37, stayed the same for 32, and worsened for 11, with two patients lost to follow-up. Thus, 55% of patients whose dizziness had not resolved two weeks after their initial visits improved over the subsequent 12 months. Logistic regression revealed four independent predictors of persistent dizziness at one-year follow-up: dizziness due to psychiatric causes, dysequilibrium, vertigo other than benign positional vertigo, vestibular neuronitis, or migraine (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% CI, 2.1-18.6); daily dizziness (odds ratio, 6.4; 95% CI, 2.0-21.0); dizziness worse with walking (odds ratio, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-9.0); and patient had initially feared a serious illness (odds ratio, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.10-0.74). These four factors could be used to classify patients as having either a high (82%), medium (47%), or low (0%) likelihood of improvement at one-year follow-up. One patient died from heart failure, and none developed a serious disease for which dizziness had been a harbinger. Dizziness was not associated with an increased number of clinic visits. Conclusions: Among patients with a chief complaint of dizziness who are still symptomatic at two-week follow-up, more than half improve within a year. Clinical factors identify patients at higher risk for persistent dizziness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-689
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • dizziness
  • health care utilization
  • morbidity
  • outcomes
  • prognosis
  • vertigo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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