Patient-Reported Outcomes after Vestibular Implantation for Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction

Andrianna I. Ayiotis, Desi P. Schoo, Celia Fernandez Brillet, Kelly E. Lane, John P. Carey, Charles C. Della Santina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Standard-of-care treatment proves inadequate for many patients with bilateral vestibular hypofunction (BVH). Vestibular implantation is an emerging alternative. Objective: To examine patient-reported outcomes from prosthetic vestibular stimulation. Design, Setting, and Participants: The Multichannel Vestibular Implant (MVI) Early Feasibility Study is an ongoing prospective, nonrandomized, single-group, single-center cohort study conducted at Johns Hopkins Hospital that has been active since 2016 in which participants serve as their own controls. The study includes adults with severe or profound adult-onset BVH for at least 1 year and inadequate compensation despite standard-of-care treatment. As of March 2023, 12 candidates completed the eligibility screening process. Intervention: The MVI system electrically stimulates semicircular canal branches of the vestibular nerve to convey head rotation. Main Outcomes and Measures: Patient-reported outcome instruments assessing dizziness (Dizziness Handicap Inventory [DHI]) and vestibular-related disability (Vestibular Disorders-Activities of Daily Living [VADL]). Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) assessed using the Short Form-36 Utility (SF36U) and Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3), from which quality-adjusted life-years were computed. Results: Ten individuals (5 female [50%]; mean [SD] age, 58.5 [5.0] years; range, 51-66 years) underwent unilateral implantation. A control group of 10 trial applicants (5 female [50%]; mean [SD] age, 55.1 [8.5] years; range, 42-73 years) completed 6-month follow-up surveys after the initial application. After 0.5 years of continuous MVI use, a pooled mean (95% CI) of within-participant changes showed improvements in dizziness (DHI, -36; 95% CI, -55 to -18), vestibular disability (VADL, -1.7; 95% CI, -2.6 to -0.7), and HRQOL by SF36U (0.12; 95% CI, 0.07-0.17) but not HUI3 (0.02; 95% CI, -0.22 to 0.27). Improvements exceeded minimally important differences in the direction of benefit (exceeding 18, 0.65, and 0.03, respectively, for DHI, VADL, and SF36U). The control group reported no mean change in dizziness (DHI, -4; 95% CI, -10 to 2), vestibular disability (VADL, 0.1; 95% CI, -0.9 to 1.1) or HRQOL per SF36U (0; 95% CI, -0.06 to 0.05) but an increase in HRQOL per HUI3 (0.10; 95% CI, 0.04-0.16). Lifetime HRQOL gain for MVI users was estimated to be 1.7 quality-adjusted life-years (95% CI, 0.6-2.8) using SF36U and 1.4 (95% CI, -1.2 to 4.0) using HUI3. Conclusions and Relevance: This cohort study found that vestibular implant recipients report vestibular symptom improvements not reported by a control group. These patient-reported benefits support the use of vestibular implantation as a treatment for bilateral vestibular hypofunction..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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