Cleveland clinic Abu Dhabi adopts NASA’s technology to treat dizziness

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, has launched a specialized multidisciplinary Balance Clinic that employs multidisciplinary care protocols and a test  originally developed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to support residents experiencing prolonged or recurrent dizziness.

Dizziness is an umbrella term that encompasses loss of balance, lightheadedness, a spinning sensation and an inability to walk straight, among other symptoms. It can be caused by problems in the inner ear, brain, eyes, or neck, and often involves multiple causes. For patients affected by dizziness, receiving an accurate diagnosis that identifies the root cause of the symptoms is vital to be able to return to their normal lives.

“When patients come to our Balance Clinic, their main problem is that they don’t have an answer to why they’re feeling this way. Some of them have been feeling dizzy or living in fear of dizzy spells for five, ten or even fifteen years. I make it very clear to our patients that living with dizziness is not OK. Our mission here is to find the answer to their problem and get them the treatment they need to take their lives back,” says Dr. Mark Bassim, the otologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Balance Clinic.

specialized equipment called EquiTestIn order to determine the specific cause of dizziness in each individual patient, the multidisciplinary team uses specialized equipment including a test, called EquiTest®, originally developed for NASA’s space program to assess astronauts’ balance before and after missions.  These interactive tests measure a patient’s response to movement with computer readings, delivering an objective assessment of both balance and stability that helps doctors determine the root cause of the symptoms and define a comprehensive treatment plan.

“One of the real challenges with assessing dizziness and its causes is just how fuzzy descriptions can be. The way people experience and quantify dizziness is unique to them. With the right equipment and expertise, however, we can determine precisely how a person is affected and begin to pinpoint the cause of related symptoms. Once we have a firm diagnosis, we can treat the underlying cause and help our patients feel more firmly planted on the ground and confident in their daily life once again,” continues Dr. Bassim.

Following diagnosis, patients receive an individual treatment plan and are followed through their journey by a multidisciplinary team. Depending on the cause of their dizziness, they may be treated using medication, surgery or a combination of both. In many cases, the addition of specialized physical therapy, called vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) can significantly accelerate recovery. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s balance clinic brings together otologists, audiologists, and specialized physical therapists, with support from neurologists as required. This ensures that all aspects of treatment are covered by a coordinated, specialized, multidisciplinary team.

“Dizziness can affect a person’s quality of live at the most fundamental level. Patients can go from being active and engaged to feeling as though they can’t face doing anything anymore. With the right care, the improvement we see in patients is truly fantastic, even in those who had given up hope of ever seeing an improvement,” concludes Dr. Bassim. 

For more information or to request an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s balance clinic, call 800 8 CCAD (2223), visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi app.​

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