Investigating nystagmus in patients with traumatic brain injury: A systematic review (1996 - 2016)
Background. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a health and socioeconomic concern worldwide. In patients with TBI, post-traumatic balance problems are often the result of damage to the vestibular system. Nystagmus is common in these patients, and can provide insight into the damage that has resulted from the trauma.
Objective. To present a systematic overview of published literature regarding nystagmus in patients with TBI.
Methods. Nine databases and platforms were searched during October 2016 for articles published between 1996 and 2016. Studies of any research design and published in English that focused on nystagmus in patients with TBI were considered for inclusion. A total of 110 articles were screened once duplicates had been removed, and 29 full-text articles were assessed. Eleven articles were included in the quality appraisal phase (using the McMaster tool), after which 10 articles were included in this review.
Results. This review describes nystagmus in 713 patients, and all articles reviewed described the type of assessment method that was used. However, the results lacked comprehensive data regarding the assessment, measurement and description of nystagmus in TBI patients, or the possible link and relationship between nystagmus and TBI.
Conclusions. This systematic review indicated that: (i) there is a growing body of evidence that benign paroxysmal positional vertigo should be considered during the medical examination of all patients suffering from head trauma; (ii) all patients with TBI should undergo visual (eye movement) and vestibular examination; and (iii) future studies should include quantitative measurements of eye movements and nystagmus.
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