Treatment success of internet-based vestibular rehabilitation in general practice: development and internal validation of a prediction model

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OBJECTIVES: To develop and internally validate prediction models to assess treatment success of both stand-alone and blended online vestibular rehabilitation (VR) in patients with chronic vestibular syndrome.

DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial.

SETTING: 59 general practices in The Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS: 202 adults, aged 50 years and older with a chronic vestibular syndrome who received either stand-alone VR (98) or blended VR (104). Stand-alone VR consisted of a 6-week, internet-based intervention with weekly online sessions and daily exercises. In blended VR, the same intervention was supplemented with physiotherapy support.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Successful treatment was defined as: clinically relevant improvement of (1) vestibular symptoms (≥3 points improvement Vertigo Symptom Scale-Short Form); (2) vestibular-related disability (>11 points improvement Dizziness Handicap Inventory); and (3) both vestibular symptoms and vestibular-related disability. We assessed performance of the predictive models by applying calibration plots, Hosmer-Lemeshow statistics, area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) and applied internal validation.

RESULTS: Improvement of vestibular symptoms, vestibular-related disability or both was seen in 121, 81 and 64 participants, respectively. We generated predictive models for each outcome, resulting in different predictors in the final models. Calibration for all models was adequate with non-significant Hosmer-Lemeshow statistics, but the discriminative ability of the final predictive models was poor (AUC 0.54 to 0.61). None of the identified models are therefore suitable for use in daily general practice to predict treatment success of online VR.

CONCLUSION: It is difficult to predict treatment success of internet-based VR and it remains unclear who should be treated with stand-alone VR or blended VR. Because we were unable to develop a useful prediction model, the decision to offer stand-alone or blended VR should for now be based on availability, cost effectiveness and patient preference.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: The Netherlands Trial Register NTR5712.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere038649
Pages (from-to)e038649
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


  • adult neurology
  • neurotology
  • primary care

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