Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Romberg's Test.

Hello,
Today's review is on Rombergs test.

Romberg/Brauch-Romberg sign:
In cases where the proprioception is disturbed, patient may be able to stand with eyes open but sways or falls with eyes closed.

Romberg described this test, in patients with tabes dorsalis where the Dorsal Columns are damaged.
Well he did not state that the feet should be placed together; it was added later.. Nor did he comment on where the arms were to be positioned.

It is just a common practice to have the patient hold the arms outstretched in front, in order to check simultaneously for pronator drift or to perform finger-to-nose testing; it is not what the original test was.

The Romberg sign is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. 

The essential finding is a difference between standing balance with eyes open and closed. To test this function, the patient must have a stable stance, eyes open and then demonstrate a decrease in balance with eyes closed, when visual input is eliminated.
This is the time patient must rely on proprioception to maintain balance.

The Romberg sign is used primarily as a test of proprioceptive, not cerebellar, function, patients with cerebellar disease, particularly disorders of the vestibulocerebellum or spinocerebellum, may have some increase in instability with eyes closed, but not usually to the degree seen with impaired proprioception.

A patient with an acute unilateral vestibulopathy may fall toward the side of the lesion when standing with eyes closed.

Additional Manuevers for this Sign.

1) Ropper's Refined Rombergs Test :
Turning the head side to side eliminates vestibular clues and increases the reliance on proprioception.

2) The Sharpened Romberg Test :
It is done by having the patient stand in tandem position with eyes open and closed; the limits of normality for this variation are conjectural.

Hope this was helpful!

Let's Learn Together!
-Medha.

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