We reviewed clinical findings in 740 patients over age 65 who consulted the Otological Medical Group, Inc., during a one-year period for dizziness. A thorough neurotologic evaluation is indicated in every such case to determine the specific cause of dizziness. In 21 per cent of these patients, a specific cause of dizziness was found. In the remaining 79 per cent, the diagnosis of primary dysequilibrium of ageing (presbyastasis) was made.
We classified dysequilibrium of ageing (presbyastasis) according to the character, time course, and precipitating factors of dizziness. Two clinical types were described: constant and unclassified. The histological finding in the temporal bones of four cases with dysequilibrium of ageing were reviewed. Pathological changes other than those in the peripheral vestibular system seem to be responsible for dysequilibrium of ageing.
In the present series, about three-fourths of the patients had a daily dose of nicotinic acid to produce flushing of the skin. In 16 per cent, the dizziness was minor, requiring no special treatment. In the remaining 9 per cent with incapacitating vertigo, a vasodilator regimen, antivertiginous drugs, and Cawthorne's vestibular exercises were prescribed.