Concordance and discordance in patient and provider perceptions of dizziness.



The purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether there are significant differences in patient/healthcare provider perceptions of patient's dizziness severity, dizziness disability/handicap, anxiety, and signs of autonomic system activation.

Materials And Methods

This was a prospective investigation of 30 patient-provider dyads drawn as a sample of convenience from an otology clinic in a large, tertiary care, medical center. Patients completed both the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and the Vestibular Symptom Scale (VSS) prior to vestibular function testing. Providers were instructed to complete the same measures following the patient's clinic visit from what they estimated was the patient's point of view. The two measures were analyzed for concordance and discordance.


Patient/provider differences in DHI and VSS vertigo subscale scores were not significantly different. However, difference scores on the VSS anxiety/autonomic subscale indicated that providers significantly under-estimated patient anxiety and symptoms of autonomic system activation.


The results suggest that providers may be missing information pertinent to the role anxiety and autonomic system activation may play in patient visits for complaints of dizziness. We suggest that this problem can be mitigated by administrating to patients prior to their clinic visit a standardized measure that quantifies patient self-report dizziness, vertigo, anxiety and autonomic system arousal. Patterns of response by patients on these measures can enable providers to diagnose correctly dizziness disorders that are rooted in clinically significant anxiety either related to, or unrelated to, a history of vestibular system impairment.

Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.