Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Adopts Technology Developed for NASA To Find Root Cause of Persistent Dizziness

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, has launched a specialized multidisciplinary Balance Clinic that employs multidisciplinary care protocols and a test originally developed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to support residents experiencing prolonged or recurrent dizziness.

Dizziness is an umbrella term that encompasses loss of balance, lightheadedness, a spinning sensation and an inability to walk straight, among other symptoms. It can be caused by problems in the inner ear, brain, eyes, or neck, and often involves multiple causes. For patients affected by dizziness, receiving an accurate diagnosis that identifies the root cause of the symptoms is vital to be able to return to their normal lives.

“When patients come to our Balance Clinic, their main problem is that they don’t have an answer to why they’re feeling this way. Some of them have been feeling dizzy or living in fear of dizzy spells for five, ten or even fifteen years. I make it very clear to our patients that living with dizziness is not OK. Our mission here is to find the answer to their problem and get them the treatment they need to take their lives back,” says Dr. Mark Bassim, the otologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Balance Clinic.

In order to determine the specific cause of dizziness in each individual patient, the multidisciplinary team uses specialized equipment including a test, called EquiTest®, originally developed for NASA’s space program to assess astronauts’ balance before and after missions.  These interactive tests measure a patient’s response to movement with computer readings, delivering an objective assessment of both balance and stability that helps doctors determine the root cause of the symptoms and define a comprehensive treatment plan.

“One of the real challenges with assessing dizziness and its causes is just how fuzzy descriptions can be. The way people experience and quantify dizziness is unique to them. With the right equipment and expertise, however, we can determine precisely how a person is affected and begin to pinpoint the cause of related symptoms. Once we have a firm diagnosis, we can treat the underlying cause and help our patients feel more firmly planted on the ground and confident in their daily life once again,” continues Dr. Bassim.

Following diagnosis, patients receive an individual treatment plan and are followed through their journey by a multidisciplinary team. Depending on the cause of their dizziness, they may be treated using medication, surgery or a combination of both. In many cases, the addition of specialized physical therapy, called vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) can significantly accelerate recovery. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s balance clinic brings together otologists, audiologists, and specialized physical therapists, with support from neurologists as required. This ensures that all aspects of treatment are covered by a coordinated, specialized, multidisciplinary team.

“Dizziness can affect a person’s quality of live at the most fundamental level. Patients can go from being active and engaged to feeling as though they can’t face doing anything anymore. With the right care, the improvement we see in patients is truly fantastic, even in those who had given up hope of ever seeing an improvement,” concludes Dr. Bassim.

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established in 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), Amana Healthcare, National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Danat Al Emarat, HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, HealthPlus Family Clinics, HealthPlus Fertility, HealthPlus Women’s Health Center, Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, and a stake in Al Meswak Dental Clinics Group. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.