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Test identifies tumors in kids' vertigo.

ORLANDO -- Balance testing can help identify tumors in children presenting with vertigo, according to a review of 71 children younger than 18 years.

Currently, there isn't a consistent correlation between balance testing and the etiology of vertigo within a pediatric population, said Dr. Anali Dadgostar of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Dr. Dadgostar and her colleagues reviewed all patients younger than age 17 years who were referred to a single hospital between 1999 and 2006 for assessment of vertigo.

Data from 110 patients were reviewed, and 71 underwent balance tests, such as posturography, which included uphill and downhill motion; and caloric testing, which stimulated the inner ear and nearby nerves using water of different temperatures.

In all, 15 patients had abnormal findings based on the balance assessment. These patients ranged in age from 7 to 16 years, with an average age of 12 years, according to the findings, which were presented at the Triological Society's Combined Sections Meeting.

"The most worrisome finding within the balance testing was the cerebellar sign," Dr. Dadgostar said.

Four of the patients with abnormal findings had cerebellar signs, and three of these patients were ultimately diagnosed with brain stem tumors.

In addition, just over half (53%) of the patients with abnormal findings had caloric reductions that suggested Meniere's disease.

Children with vertigo often are referred to clinicians who don't have the professional training to get a correct evaluation, Dr. Dadgostar noted at the meeting, which was jointly sponsored by the Triological Society and the American College of Surgeons.

These results suggest that balance testing in children with vertigo can be a useful diagnostic adjunct that might spare some children the need for more invasive diagnostic procedures, Dr. Dadgostar said.

The study was limited by potential selection biases.

Additional research is needed to compare balance testing directly with other methods for assessing children with vertigo, she added.

VITALS

Major Finding: Balance testing helped to identify brain stem tumors in three children who presented with vertigo.

Data Source: A prospective study of 71 children.

Disclosures: Dr. Dadgostar had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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Title Annotation:NEUROLOGIC DISORDERS
Author:Splete, Heidi
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 15, 2010
Words:347
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