New technology transforming the diagnosing and reporting of vestibular disorders

For many people maintaining balance isn’t easy, and it can be a challenge to understand why they suffer conditions that make it difficult to perform one or more basic activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or simply getting around inside the home.

Dizziness is a sensation of light-headedness, faintness, or unsteadiness. Unlike dizziness, vertigo has a rotational, spinning component, and is the perception or illusion of movement, either of the self or surrounding objects. Disequilibrium simply means unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of balance (equilibrium) that is often accompanied by spatial disorientation.

It is known that because of the difficulties posed by accurately diagnosing and reporting vestibular disorders, worldwide statistics estimating how common they are, how often they occur, and what social impacts they have, range widely. That said, even the lowest estimates suggest the issue is more commonplace, and can affect people of any age, including children.

In Australia, physiotherapists are considered primary practitioners, and have enjoyed this role in health care for over several decades.

Professor Dr Margie H Sharpe is the Director and Principal of the Dizziness & Balance Disorders Centre and the pioneer of Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation in Australia. She is a clinical scientist, senior clinical consultant, mentor and a principal educator in this field. She is an accredited APTA Senior Consultant Vestibular physiotherapist who works exclusively in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy. She has an outstanding reputation worldwide and is well known for her work in vestibular and balance rehabilitation in Australia.

As the Vestibular Disorders Association reports, the typical time for a patient to be diagnosed is still 3-5 years. Worldwide practitioners continue to work to raise awareness in the community to improve early diagnosis, developing new technologies for vestibular assessment, such as the newly released and improved ICS Impulse software, which supports earlier diagnosis leading to quicker rehabilitation and evaluating Vestibular rehabilitation therapy.

Prof. Sharpe is the first in Australia to receive and introduce this new software to her patients.

Patients referred to Prof. Sharpe have already suffered long term lifestyle impacts. However, once in her care, her success with her patients; in particular complex vestibular patients and those with refractory dizziness, is renown and attracts patients from all parts of Australia and overseas. This reflects her dedication, enquiring mind, creativity, and unyielding commitment to the betterment of her patients, and professional education in vestibular disorders and vestibular rehabilitation.

Over the years, Prof. Sharpe has been and continues to be at the forefront of adopting new technologies early into her Centre, after monitoring and observing their approval for medical use, thereby ensuring her patients receive the most advanced, state of the art equipment, including for example, the Infrared Video Oculography Frenzel Goggles and video Head Impulse Test (v-HIT).

While seen as cutting edge, these tools are an essential part of modern assessment of vestibular disorders, taking the guesswork out of diagnosis and treatment. Prof. Sharpe uses this equipment because it is objective, accurate, reliable, an efficient use of time and ease to administer.


ICS Impulse

The ICS Impulse now has four testing modules in one solution. ICS Impulse delivers to Physiotherapy professionals a Video Frenzel, video Head Impulse Test (v-HIT), and Positional and Ocular motor test batteries in one portable, easy to use solution.

ICS Impulse makes it possible to test children and bed-ridden patients.