Researchers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh have created a new 5- to 10-minute test that can be added to a clinician’s concussion evaluation tool kit for a more comprehensive assessment of the head injury. Researchers from the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program demonstrated that clinicians can use their Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) examination to be 90% accurate in identifying patients with concussion, according to a news release from the University of Pittsburgh (UP) Schools of the Health Sciences.

The UP Schools of the Health Sciences news release notes that the VOMS was shown to be a valid and consistent tool to enhance the current multidisciplinary approaches to concussion assessment that include clinical examination, symptom evaluation, and computerized neurocognitive testing. The researchers studied 64 concussed patients about 5 days postinjury and 78 healthy control-group patients who were administered VOMS by trained clinicians.

The VOMS assesses five areas of the vestibular ocular system: saccades, smooth pursuits, horizontal vestibular ocular reflex, visual motion sensitivity, and near-point-of-convergence distance. Standardized screening instructions are attached as appendices. VOMS was developed in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team of UPMC experts.

Michael Collins, PhD, Concussion Program executive and clinical director who took part in this study, explains, “The VOMS is another tool in our tool kit. For the past 5 to 10 years, our research has revealed that vision issues, fogginess, and dizziness are symptoms associated with the worst outcomes in our patients. So we set out to create an evidence-based examination to assess these areas.”

Anthony Kontos, PhD, senior investigator of the study, states, “The results from the current study indicated that more than 60% of patients experienced symptoms following the VOMS—and these are patients whose impairments might have been missed without a tool like it.”

Collins says, “The VOMS provides a more specific evaluation that can help us better treat these patients using targeted treatment pathways. By integrating the VOMS with current tools, clinicians could very well foster a paradigm shift in concussion diagnosis and management.”

Photo Appears Courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

[Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences]