Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Health, has opened a specialized Balance Clinic that uses multidisciplinary care protocols and a test created for NASA, to help residents who have been experiencing chronic or recurrent dizziness.
Dizziness is a term that includes a variety of symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness, a spinning sensation, and the inability to walk straight, etc. It can be caused by problems in the inner ear, brain, eyes, or neck, and often involves multiple causes.
For patients affected by dizziness, receiving an accurate diagnosis that identifies the root cause of the symptoms is vital to be able to return to their normal lives.
“When patients come to our Balance Clinic, their main problem is that they don’t have an answer to why they’re feeling this way. Some of them have been feeling dizzy or living in fear of dizzy spells for five, ten, or even fifteen years. I make it very clear to our patients that living with dizziness is not OK. Our mission here is to find the answer to their problem and get them the treatment they need to take their lives back.”
The multidisciplinary team employs specialized technology, including a test called EquiTest, which was initially developed for NASA’s space program to assess astronauts’ balance before and after missions. These interactive tests use computer readings to monitor a patient’s response to movement, providing an objective assessment of both balance and stability that helps doctors determine the root cause of symptoms and treatment.
Patients are given a customized treatment plan after being diagnosed and are monitored by a multidisciplinary team throughout their journey. Medications, surgery, or a mix of both may be used to address their dizziness, depending on the cause. In many circumstances, adding vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT), a type of specialist physical therapy, can significantly speed up recovery.