Screening for Vestibular Disorders Using the Modified Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction and Balance and Tandem Walking With Eyes Closed

Helen S. Cohen, Ajitkumar P. Mulavara, Jasmine Stitz, Haleh Sangi-Haghpeykar, Susan P. Williams, Brian T. Peters, Jacob J. Bloomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Determine accurate cut-points and optimal combinations of screening tests of balance to detect patients with vestibular disorders. STUDY DESIGN: Case-control study. SETTING: Out-patient tertiary care. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Community-dwelling adults, without known neurological deficits or significant musculoskeletal disorders, including patients with vestibular disorders and healthy controls without vestibular disorders were tested while standing on medium density compliant foam with feet together and eyes closed under three head movement conditions, head stationary, and head moving in yaw and pitch at 0.33 Hz, for up to 30 seconds per trial. Dependent measures were trial duration, number of head movements during head movement trials, trunk kinematic measures, and number of correct tandem steps during tandem walking trials. RESULTS: Receiver operator characteristics (ROC), sensitivity and specificity, and specific cut-points were calculated. Individual tests had moderate ROC values, from 0.67 to 0.84. ROC values were higher in the head moving trials than the head stationary trial and best for subjects aged 40 to 79. Using combined analyses of two or more tests, including published data on tandem walking, ROC values were higher, 0.80 to 0.90. Age- and sex-related performance differences were found. CONCLUSION: Balance skills in standing and walking differ, so testing both skills is optimal and increases the likelihood of finding a deficit. Patients should be compared to age-appropriate norms. Kinematics and number of head movements were not very useful. This combined set of rapid, low-tech balance tests is useful in an initial approach to screening patients who may have vestibular disorders.


  • Aging
  • Balance evaluation
  • Postural control
  • Romberg
  • Screening
  • Vestibular
  • Head Movements
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Biomechanical Phenomena/physiology
  • Walking
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Vestibular Diseases/diagnosis
  • Neurologic Examination/methods
  • Postural Balance


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