Heart, Not Inner Ear Source of Dizziness

Heart disease, not inner ear problems, appears to be the most common cause of dizziness in elderly patients seen in primary care offices, Dutch researchers say.

In a cross-sectional analysis, cardiovascular disease was the most common cause of dizziness, occurring in 57% of patients. Vestibular disease appeared to be the cause in only 14% of patients, the researchers found.

It is reasonable to think that some inner ear problem is causing episodes of dizziness in elderly patients.  However, in 2010 Dutch researchers determined that heart disease is a more likely common cause.

The researchers did  a cross-sectional analysis, a type of analysis method that looks at an entire population set at one point in time.  They found that heart disease was the cause of dizziness episodes in 57 percent of patients, while inner ear problems were the source of dizziness in only 14 percent of the patients.

Published:  Causes of persistent dizziness in elderly patients in primary care,  Annals of Family Medicine, 2010; 8: 196-205.

Researchers: Maarsingh OR, et al