A Medical Device Daily

Whenever someone suffers from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BBPV), they might suffer from a nauseous, dizzy-like feeling. In some cases it can even feel like the entire room is spinning in circles.

Vesticon (Portland, Oregon) has reported the widespread availability of a software-guided patient positioning system designed to help physicians and other care providers accurately diagnose and effectively treat vestibular disorders including the most common type BPPV.

The software was invented by Dr. John Epley, who also developed the Epley Manuever, a technique that involves sequential movement of the head into four positions, staying in each position for roughly 30 seconds.

All too often, if the Epley Maneuver doesn't solve the problem, patients are told there is nothing that can be done and they need to learn to live with it.

The Epley Omniax System derives its name from the 360-degree, multi-axial positioning it provides. The software-driven patient positioning system uses infrared goggles to assist caregivers in analyzing abnormal eye movement patterns that are associated with the shifting of loose particles in the inner-ear canals which cause BPPV.

The company said that Omniax System is unique in that it gives physicians and therapists the ability to rotate patients to virtually any position, including a 360-degree flip. The science behind the Omniax System is derived from Dr. Epley's paradigm-shifting work in the vestibular field.

The Omniax System is the first device to offer precise nystagmus-based evaluation.

It provides caregivers an ability to detect, differentiate, treat and manage balance and dizziness disorders. Until now, BPPV diagnosis and treatment has involved a significant amount of educated guesswork and, if it is BPPV, manual maneuvers which tend to be both difficult to accomplish and imprecise.

Epley explains that balance disorders often involve loose particles in more than one inner ear canal, or particles in a canal other than the posterior canal. Occasionally the problem is caused by some other issue, such damage to the brain or a problem elsewhere in the ear.

With the Omniax System, a physician can now rule in or rule out various causes of vestibular vertigo and if it is determined that the cause is particles in the ear canal, the Omniax System provides a means to more easily and more effectively treat it.

Unlike other devices, such as a rotational chair, the Omniax System provides both diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its multi-axial rotational capability allows for more comprehensive treatment where manual maneuvers are problematic, such as when the patient is frail, obese, or disabled.

The Omniax also allows patients to be suspended in secure positions on a 360-degree axis. This allows ease and safety of movement, as well as more accurate diagnoses than traditional methods.

With its recent market launch, Vesticon has begun working with clinics across the US to install new systems. In addition to the system at Epley's practice, systems exist at the Legacy Holiday Park Clinical Research Technology Center (Portland), the Senta Medical Clinic (San Diego, California), the Florida Ear and Balance Center (Celebration, Florida), the Ear and Balance Institute (Baton Rouge, Lousiana), the Michigan Ear Institute (Farmington Hills), and the Hearing and Balance Unit of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Camperdown, Australia).

The company said that this month, it will be installing new commercial units at the Werner Institute of Balance and Dizziness (Las Vegas) and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center (Cleveland).

The company was founded in 2003 and is focused, it says, on practical solutions that narrow the gap between medical knowledge of the vestibular system and putting that knowledge into practice at the clinical level.

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