Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening is Independently Associated With Concussion Symptom Severity in Youths

Clin J Sport Med. 2020 Oct;

Babicz, M. A., Woods, S. P., Cirino, P., Presley, C., Colton, Z., & Podell, K..



OBJECTIVE: To examine the independent contributions of the Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) to concussion symptom severity in youths while controlling for computerized neurocognitive screening performance, demographics, and medical history. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: Concussion specialty clinic. PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective review of 278 concussed youths clinical charts resulted in a total of 158 participants (16.5 +/- 2.8 years, 46.8% women, 4.3 +/- 3.3 days post-injury) when exclusionary criteria (ie, neurological or substance use disorders, age >21, >14 days since injury, and missing/incomplete data) were applied. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening items and computerized neurocognitive test scores. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Standardized postconcussion symptom scale scores. RESULTS: At the univariate level, all VOMS items were positively associated with concussion symptom severity at small to medium effect sizes (r range 0.26-0.42). Women and individuals with a concussion history and/or Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis reported higher VOMS item scores (Ps < 0.10). In a multiple hierarchical regression, the contribution of VOMS item scores was significant and explained 9.6% of the variance in concussion symptom severity after adjustment for sex, baseline VOMS symptom ratings, and ImPACT scores [F(6, 141) = 3.90, P = 0.001]. Vertical saccades (b = 2.22, P = 0.003) and vertical vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR; b = -1.46, P = 0.004) VOMS items significantly contributed to concussion symptom severity in the multivariable model. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study provide support for the independent contributions of the VOMS items, particularly vertical saccades and vertical VOR, to acute concussion symptom severity in youths. Further work is warranted for a comparison of the VOMS to the full gold standard of concussion testing (ie, clinical interview, physical examination, balance testing, and neurocognitive assessment).

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