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Patients spinning their way to better health in Qld first chair

19 September 2022

It may look more like a theme park ride than high tech medical equipment but this Queensland first located at Logan Hospital has patients somersaulting their way to better health and a better quality of life.

Advanced Vestibular Physiotherapist Ethan Marrinan said patients suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV, a condition caused by dysfunction in the inner ear, were seeing great results from treatment in the state’s only Multiaxial Rotational (TRV) Chair.

He said symptoms of the condition included spinning vertigo, nausea, vomiting and ‘jumping vision’ as well as causing fear of falling or falls.

“Patients experience these symptoms every time they move their head so unfortunately often restrict themselves significantly and report similar quality of life scores as those living with macular degeneration and HIV/AIDS. This means that they see BPPV as a condition that significantly interrupts their lives and is a health problem that affects them daily.”

Mr Marrinan said an estimated 80,000 Queenslanders suffered from BPPV each year, often with significant enough symptoms to present to hospital.

“There are around 20,000 presentations to Queensland Health emergency departments each year for dizziness and a significant number of these are because of BBPV.”

He said staff at Logan Hospital had undergone intensive training overseas to use the highly specialised piece of medical equipment weighing more than 700kg and housed in a purpose-built room.

“The Chair operates as a mechanical diagnostic and repo­sitioning device that manoeuvres patients into the ideal therapeutic position to treat BPPV, including a full 360-degree backwards somersault.

“The treatment is proving highly effective for complex BPPV that doesn’t respond to the traditional bedside repositioning procedures, which is helping patients to be symptom free again.”

He said patients were receiving on average, three TRV Chair treatments before being discharged, and that Logan Hospital was receiving a steady stream of referrals from across Queensland for patients desperate to undergo treatment in the Chair.

Patient Bradley Roach said he spent years suffering severe vertigo, running into walls, and falling over as a result.

The 60-year-old said after only one treatment in the Chair, his condition had improved immeasurably, and now only required yearly check-ups.

“I am a very active person but for about four years I have been very giddy, unsteady on my feet and falling over all the time. Just bending down to do some gardening, to stand up I would have to wait and stop myself spinning.

“The results have been great – it’s definitely changed my life.”

Mr Marrinan said prior to the arrival of the Chair at Logan Hospital, Queensland patients needed to travel to Sydney or Melbourne to access this kind of treatment.

“We have already treated more than 80 patients this year using the TRV Chair who didn’t respond to traditional treatment, and our patients are so happy with the results they’re achieving after suffering for so long.”

He said with the introduction of the TRV Chair earlier this year and the BERTEC virtual reality clinics in June, Logan Hospital had fast become the state’s centre for excellence for vestibular disorders.

Last updated 19 September 2022
Last reviewed 19 September 2022

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