Year 2020
Project Title Determining the Incidence of Vestibular Dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients Admitted to Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation
Participator Jasin Wong
Job Title Co-investigator
Period 2020.02 ~ 2021.08
Unit Research Accelerator Program at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Abstract Background:  Vestibular dysfunction is a common sequela of traumatic brain injury (TBI) affecting up to 
50% of TBI patients at 5 years after injury, making it a significant medical and public health concern [1].  
Due to the multifaceted presentation of these symptoms, evaluation is challenging, and there is 
currently no standardized approach to screening. While the incidence of vestibular dysfunction has been 
studied in mild TBI (mTBI) and sports related concussions, there is a gap in the literature regarding the 
incidence of vestibular dysfunction in moderate to severe TBI patients in acute rehabilitation [2,3]. 
The benefits of having an established vestibular dysfunction screening and rehabilitation program are 
multifold. Vestibular rehabilitation following TBI has demonstrated improvements in cognitive function, 
ability to return to activities of daily living, and ability to return to work [4]. While one prior single blind 
randomized controlled trial aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a structured vestibular rehabilitation 
program in TBI individuals, there is a need for a large-scale study to evaluate the effectiveness of 
screening for vestibular dysfunction in order to create a systematic approach [5]. 
Many TBI patients are not diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction until much later in their hospital course 
which impedes participation in therapy and likely has a detrimental effect on their rate of recovery. 
Identifying these patients earlier in their rehabilitation course will allow interventions that will improve 
and accelerate patient outcomes.  An additional benefit of this study is to determine the incidence of 
moderate to severely-injured TBI patients to outline the necessary resources to care for patients with 
this problem. 
Specific Aim 1: To determine the incidence of vestibular dysfunction in traumatic brain injury patients 
admitted to acute inpatient rehabilitation. 
Specific Aim 2: To validate the AbilityLab Vestibular Screening Tool (AVeST), a measure designed to 
quickly screen individuals for vestibular function following TBI.   
Language English