|Original Policy Date
|Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/11:2014
|Return to Medical Policy Index|
Our medical policies are designed for informational purposes only and are not an authorization, or an explanation of benefits, or a contract. Receipt of benefits is subject to satisfaction of all terms and conditions of the coverage. Medical technology is constantly changing, and we reserve the right to review and update our policies periodically.
Dynamic posturography attempts to provide quantitative information regarding a patient’s functional ability to maintain balance. The patient, wearing a harness to prevent falls, stands on an enclosed platform surrounded by a visual field. By altering the angle of the platform or shifting the visual field, the test assesses movement coordination and the sensory organization of visual, somatosensory, and vestibular information relevant to postural control. The patient undergoes 6 different testing situations designed to evaluate the vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive/somatosensory components of balance. In general terms, the test measures an individual’s balance (as measured by a force platform to calculate the movement of the patient’s center of mass) while visual and somatosensory cues are altered. These tests vary by whether the eyes are open or closed, the platform is fixed or sway-referenced, and whether the visual surround is fixed or sway-referenced. Sway-referencing involves making instantaneous computer-aided alterations in the platform or visual surround to coincide with changes in body position produced by sway. The purpose of sway-referencing is to cancel out accurate feedback from somatosensory or visual systems that are normally involved in maintaining balance. In the first 3 components of the test, the support surface is stable, and visual cues are either present, absent, or sway-referenced. In tests 4 to 6, the support surface is sway-referenced to the individual, and visual cues are either present, absent, or sway-referenced. In tests 5 and 6, the only accurate sensory cues that are available for balance are vestibular cues. Results of computerized dynamic posturography have been used to determine what type of information (ie, visual, vestibular, proprioceptive) can and cannot be used to maintain balance. Dynamic posturography cannot be used to localize the site of a lesion.
Complaints of imbalance are common in older individuals and contribute to the risk of falling in the elderly population. Falls are the most common cause of death and disability in this population in the United States. Maintenance of balance is a complex physiologic process, requiring interaction of the vestibular, visual, proprioceptive/somatosensory system, and central reflex mechanisms and is influenced by the general health of the patient (ie, muscle tone, strength, and range of motion [ROM]). Therefore, identifying and treating the underlying balance disorder may be difficult. Commonly used balance function tests such as electronystagmography (ENG) and rotational chair tests attempt to measure the extent and site of a vestibular lesion but do not attempt to assess the functional ability of the patient to maintain balance. Posturography tests a patient’s balance control in situations intended to isolate factors that affect balance in everyday experiences. Balance can be rapidly assessed qualitatively by asking the patient to maintain a steady stance on a flat or compressible surface (ie, foam pads) with the eyes open or closed. By closing the eyes, the visual input into balance is eliminated. The use of foam pads eliminates the sensory and proprioceptive cues. Therefore, only vestibular input is available when standing on a foam pad with eyes closed.
The NeuroCom EquiTest® is a dynamic posturography device that received 510(k) marketing clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other dynamic posturography device makers include Micromedical Technology, Metitur, and Vestibular Technologies. FDA product code: LXV
Dynamic posturography is considered investigational.
CPT code 92548 describes computerized dynamic posturography.
BlueCard/National Account Issues
State or federal mandates (e.g., FEP) may dictate that all FDA-approved devices may not be considered investigational and thus these devices may be assessed only on the basis of their medical necessity.
The policy was initially developed using a 1996 TEC Assessment, which concluded that the evidence was insufficient to determine whether dynamic posturography distinguished between peripheral and central vestibular dysfunction.(1) The policy was updated regularly using the MEDLINE database. Most recently, the literature was reviewed through September 22, 2014. Assessment of a diagnostic technology such as dynamic posturography typically focuses on 3 parameters: (1) technical performance; (2) diagnostic performance (ie, sensitivity and specificity) in appropriate populations of patients; and (3) demonstration that the diagnostic information can be used to improve patient outcomes (clinical utility). Technical performance of a device is typically assessed with 2 types of studies, those that compare test measurements with a criterion standard and those that compare results taken with the same device on different occasions (test-retest). Diagnostic performance is evaluated by the ability of a test to accurately diagnose a clinical condition in comparison with the criterion standard. The sensitivity of a test is the ability to detect a disease when the condition is present (true positive), while specificity indicates the ability to detect patients who are suspected of disease but who do not have the condition (true negative). Evaluation of diagnostic performance, therefore, requires independent assessment by the 2 methods in a population of patients suspected of disease but who do not all have the disease. Evidence related to improvement of clinical outcomes with use of this testing assesses the data linking use of a test to changes in health outcomes (clinical utility). In some cases, tests can be evaluated adequately using technical and diagnostic performance; however, when a test identifies a new or different group of patients with a disease, randomized trials are needed to demonstrate impact of the test on the net health outcome.
The policy was initially developed using a 1996 TEC Assessment, which concluded that the evidence was insufficient to determine whether dynamic posturography distinguished between peripheral and central vestibular dysfunction.(1) The policy was updated regularly using the MEDLINE database. Most recently, the literature was reviewed through September 22, 2014.
Assessment of a diagnostic technology such as dynamic posturography typically focuses on 3 parameters: (1) technical performance; (2) diagnostic performance (ie, sensitivity and specificity) in appropriate populations of patients; and (3) demonstration that the diagnostic information can be used to improve patient outcomes (clinical utility).
Technical performance of a device is typically assessed with 2 types of studies, those that compare test measurements with a criterion standard and those that compare results taken with the same device on different occasions (test-retest).
Diagnostic performance is evaluated by the ability of a test to accurately diagnose a clinical condition in comparison with the criterion standard. The sensitivity of a test is the ability to detect a disease when the condition is present (true positive), while specificity indicates the ability to detect patients who are suspected of disease but who do not have the condition (true negative). Evaluation of diagnostic performance, therefore, requires independent assessment by the 2 methods in a population of patients suspected of disease but who do not all have the disease.
Evidence related to improvement of clinical outcomes with use of this testing assesses the data linking use of a test to changes in health outcomes (clinical utility). In some cases, tests can be evaluated adequately using technical and diagnostic performance; however, when a test identifies a new or different group of patients with a disease, randomized trials are needed to demonstrate impact of the test on the net health outcome.
As recently as 2011, the published literature on the technical performance of dynamic posturography addressed the optimal way to conduct or analyze test findings.(2-5) For example, Pang et al in Hong Kong evaluated a modified version of the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) that included a head movement component designed to improve the ability of dynamic posturography in assessing balance.(3) In addition, a 2010 study by Visser et al compared results of the commonly used pooled mean response with a series of trials to an analysis using only findings of the first unpracticed trial.(4)
Several studies identified in updated literature searches have examined the technical and diagnostic performance of the test but did not identify a reliable and valid reference standard. For example, Baloh et al studied balance control in a group of elderly patients who complained of balance disorders and a group of age-matched controls; the subjects were tested in a variety of situations (ie, eyes open and closed, while standing on a foam pad to disrupt sensory cues, tilting of the platform).(6) The authors concluded that posturography data provided little information about the cause of imbalance and did not correlate with the frequency of reported falls.
Other authors have pointed out that the way in which results of computerized dynamic posturography may correlate to functional activities, such as gait, is uncertain.(7) For example, measurements of gait, frequently gait velocity, are often used in the elderly population to assess balance and mobility. A variety of patient questionnaires have been designed to measure self-perceived dizziness or balance. The correlation between the results of these clinical tests, questionnaires, and computerized dynamic
posturography is uncertain.(8)
Accuracy of Dynamic Posturography for Identifying Balance Disorders
Literature review updates failed to identify any studies that evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of dynamic posturography for diagnosing any specific balance disorder compared with commonly accepted balance tests. There is no “criterion standard” test for measuring balance, which is a physiologic parameter. In the absence of a criterion standard comparison, the literature search sought to identify studies that systematically compared results of dynamic posturography and other balance tests in an
appropriate patient population, ie, individuals who are at increased risk of falling due to balance issues.
One study that used both dynamic posturography and another test for assessing balance was published in 2011 by Ebersbach and Gunkel in Germany.(9) The study aimed to compare clinical tests (ie, the pull test) with dynamic posturography. A total of 58 successive patients with Parkinson disease and 29 healthy age-matched controls were included in the study. Before undergoing dynamic posturography testing, balance was assessed using the pull test (ie, rater delivered a sudden pull to both shoulders from
behind). These test results were used to stratify the Parkinson patients into subgroups (normal vs impaired pull tests) for comparison with the healthy controls. Posturography was performed using a stabilometer similar to a seesaw. Dynamic performance was assessed by measuring the linear displacement of the base of the platform on the ground over 60 seconds. Patients with normal pull-test results (n=30) had significantly lower sway values with dynamic posturography than controls (p=0.001). There were no significant differences, however, between patients with impaired pull-test results (n=28) and controls in sway values with dynamic posturography (p=0.43). The authors concluded that dynamic posturography was not useful for identifying patients with impaired pull-tests and “it thus remains doubtful whether sway in this type of dynamic posturography is a valid indicator of clinical disequilibrium.”
Other published literature on dynamic posturography includes several studies using posturography in the assessment of fall risk.(10-13) For example, Whitney et al conducted a retrospective review of 100 charts of individuals referred to a balance and falls clinic with a vestibular diagnosis who had undergone dynamic posturography.(13) Patients who reported multiple falls over 6 months had lower initial scores on the SOT than those who reported 1 or no falls.
Studies identified in recent literature updates used dynamic posturography as a research tool to study balance, eg, in older individuals, Parkinson patients and knee osteoarthritis patients; these studies were not designed to evaluate the technical performance or accuracy of dynamic posturography.(14-18) Dynamic posturography has also been considered a control technique in studies evaluating other novel methods of assessing balance. For example, in 2014, Alahmari et al assessed the reliability and validity of a balance rehabilitation device and compared findings with dynamic posturography using the EquiTest.(19)
Improvement in Health Outcomes
No randomized or nonrandomized controlled studies were identified that compared health outcomes in patients when treatment decisions were made with and without the results of dynamic posturography. One randomized controlled trial was identified, but this study used dynamic posturography as an outcome measure, rather than as a tool for making treatment decisions; thus conclusions cannot be drawn from this study on the impact of posturography on patient management.(20)
Several retrospective studies were published that describe a customized exercise program based on results of a complete medical and neuro-otologic history and physical examination that included platform posturography.(21,22) However, the contribution of dynamic posturography to the overall assessment and customization of the exercise program is unclear. In particular, the reports do not describe how (or whether) the exercise programs were modified based on specific deficits identified by platform
posturography. Customized vestibular rehabilitation programs can be devised with a standard battery of tests.(23) These retrospective reports are also limited by selection bias and lack of follow-up. Moreover, while these studies show that individualized therapy can improve patient outcomes, no controlled trials have assessed whether individually customized therapy programs are more effective than generic vestibular exercises.
In addition, other related studies have included the use of posturography in the assessment of patients after a clinical intervention. Examples are studies conducted with Parkinson disease patients.(24,25) and assessment of patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus before and after shunt surgery.(26) For instance in 2009, Nocera et al used posturography to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based exercise program on postural control for 10 patients with Parkinson disease.(25) The patients and 10 healthy age-matched controls were assessed with dynamic posturography before and after the 10-week intervention. Dynamic posturography was not used to select patients for the intervention or to individualize the intervention.
Summary of Evidence
The evidence on dynamic posturography consists of studies on technical performance, comparisons of results in patients with balance disorders and healthy controls, and retrospective case series reporting outcomes of patients assessed with dynamic posturography as part of clinical care.
There are no generally accepted reference standards for dynamic posturography, which makes it difficult to determine how the results can be applied in clinical care. There is a lack of evidence on the performance characteristics of this test for clinically important conditions, such as identifying patients who are at risk of falls. There are no studies that demonstrate the clinical utility of the test, by leading to changes in management that improves health outcomes. As a result of these deficiencies in the evidence base, dynamic posturography is considered investigational for all indications.
Practice Guidelines and Position Statements
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Inc. and Foundation has issued 2 guidelines that mention dynamic posturography:
- In 2007, a guideline on the evaluation of individuals with suspected balance or dizziness disorders listed dynamic posturography as 1 of 4 medically indicated tests or treatments.(27)
- In 2008, a guideline on the management of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo listed computerized posturography as 1 of 18 potential tools to consider for diagnosing this condition.(28)
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations
Medicare National Coverage
There is no national coverage determination (NCD). In the absence of an NCD, coverage decisions are left to the discretion of local Medicare carriers.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). Dynamic posturography in the assessment of vestibular dysfunction. TEC Assessment 1996; Volume 11, Tab 11.
- Honaker J, Converse C, Shepard N. Modified head shake computerized dynamic posturography. Am J Audiol 2009; 18(2):108-13.
- Pang MY, Lam FM, Wong GH et al. Balance performance in head-shake computerized dynamic posturography: aging effects and test-retest reliability. Phys Ther 2011; 91(2):246-53.
- Visser JE, Oude Nijhuis LB, Janssen L et al. Dynamic posturography in Parkinson’s disease: diagnostic utility of the “first trial effect”. Neuroscience 2010; 168(2):387-94.
- Whitney SL, Roche JL, Marchetti GF et al. A comparison of accelerometry and center of pressure measures during computerized dynamic posturography: a measure of balance. Gait Posture 2011; 33(4):594-99.
- Baloh RW, Jacobson KM, Enrietto JA et al. Balance disorders in older persons: quantification with posturography. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1998; 119(1):89-92.
- Evans MK, Krebs DE. Posturography does not test vestibulospinal function. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1999; 120(2):164-73.
- Clendaniel RA. Outcome measures for assessment of treatment of the dizzy and balance disorder patient. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2000; 33(3):519-33.
- Ebersbach G, Gunkel M. Posturography reflects clinical imbalance in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 2011; 26(2):241-6.
- Buatois S, Gueguen R, Gauchard GC et al. Posturography and risk of recurrent falls in healthy non-institutionalized persons aged over 65. Gerontology 2006; 52(6):345-52.
- Girardi M, Konrad HR, Amin M et al. Predicting fall risks in an elderly population: computer dynamic posturography versus electronystagmography test results. Laryngoscope 2001; 111(9):1528-32.
- Sinaki M, Lynn SG. Reducing the risk of falls through proprioceptive dynamic posture training in osteoporotic women with kyphotic posturing: a randomized pilot study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2002; 81(4):241-6.
- Whitney SL, Marchetti GF, Schade AI. The relationship between falls history and computerized dynamic posturography in persons with balance and vestibular disorders. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2006; 87(3):402-7.
- Ganesan M, Pasha SA, Pal PK et al. Direction specific preserved limits of stability in early progressive supranuclear palsy: a dynamic posturographic study. Gait Posture 2012; 35(4):625-9.
- Lee JM, Koh SB, Chae SW et al. Postural instability and cognitive dysfunction in early Parkinson's disease. Can J Neurol Sci 2012; 39(4):473-82.
- Pierchala K, Lachowska M, Morawski K et al. Sensory Organization Test outcomes in young, older and elderly healthy individuals - preliminary results. Otolaryngol Pol 2012; 66(4):274-79.
- Biggan JR, Melton F, Horvat MA et al. Increased Load Computerized Dynamic Posturography in Pre-Frail and Non-Frail Community Dwelling Older Adults. J Aging Phys Act 2013.
- Lim KB, Lee HJ. Computerized posturographic measurement in elderly women with unilateral knee osteoarthritis. Ann Rehabil Med 2012; 36(5):618-26.
- Alahmari KA, Marchetti GF, Sparto PJ, et al. Estimating postural control with the balance rehabilitation unit: measurement consistency, accuracy, validity, and comparison with dynamic posturography. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. Jan 2014;95(1):65-73. PMID 24076084
- Teggi R, Caldirola D, Fabiano B, et al. Rehabilitation after acute vestibular disorders. J Laryngol Otol. 2009;123(4):397-402. PMID
- Badke MB, Miedaner JA, Shea TA, et al. Effects of vestibular and balance rehabilitation on sensory organization and dizziness handicap. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2005;114(1 pt 1):48-54. PMID
- Badke MB, Shea TA, Miedaner JA, et al. Outcomes after rehabilitation for adults with balance dysfunction. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;85(2):227-233. PMID
- Brown KE, Whitney SL, Marchetti GF, et al. Physical therapy for central vestibular dysfunction. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006;87(1):76-81. PMID
- Hirsch MA, Toole T, Maitland CG, et al. The effects of balance training and high-intensity resistance training on persons with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003;84(8):1109-1117. PMID
- Nocera J, Horvat M, Ray CT. Effects of home-based exercise on postural control and sensory organization in individuals with Parkinson disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2009;15(10):742-745. PMID
- Lundin F, Ledin T, Wikkelso C, et al. Postural function in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus before and after shunt surgery: A controlled study using computerized dynamic posturography (EquiTest). Clin Neurol Neurosurg. Sep 2013;115(9):1626-1631. PMID 23489444
- American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Posturography. Posturography. http://www.entnet.org/Practice/policyPosturography.cfm. Accessed August 20, 2014.
- Bhattacharyya N, Baugh RF, Orvidas L, et al. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head Neck, Surgery Foundation Clinical practice guideline: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008;139(5 Suppl 4):S47-81. PMID
Computerized dynamic posturography
Vertiginous syndromes and other disorders of vestibular system – code range
Dizziness and giddiness
|ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/15)||Investigational for all diagnoses|
|H81.01 –H81.93||Disorders of vestibular function code range|
|H82.1-H82.9||Vertiginous syndromes in diseases classified elsewhere code range|
|R42||Dizziness and giddiness (includes vertigo NOS)|
|ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/1/15)||ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services|
|F15Z68Z||Diagnostic audiology, vestibular assessment, computerized dynamic posturography, vestibular/balance|
Type of Service
Place of Service
Computerized Dynamic Posturography
Equitest™ (See Dynamic Posturography)
Metitur™ (See Dynamic Posturography)
Moving Platform Posturography
|12/01/95||Add to Medicine section||New policy|
|09/23/98||Replace policy||Policy reviewed, no changes in policy|
|07/12/02||Replace policy||Policy reviewed, no changes in policy statement; expanded discussion section, additional references added|
|07/17/03||Replace policy||Literature review update; policy unchanged|
|04/1/05||Replace policy||Literature review update for the period of May 2003 through February 2005; policy statement unchanged|
|3/7/06||Replace policy||Literature review update for the period of February 2005 through January 2006; policy statement unchanged|
|04/17/07||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review, reference numbers 12–16 added; policy statement unchanged|
|05/08/08||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review, reference 17 added; policy statement unchanged|
|10/06/09||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review, reference numbers 18 and 19 added; policy statement unchanged|
|11/11/10||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review. Rationale extensively rewritten, reference numbers 1, 2, 19, and 20 added, other references renumbered or removed. Policy statement changed from not medically necessary to investigational.|
|11/10/11||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review. References 2, 5 and 9 added; other references renumbered. No change to policy statement|
|11/08/12||Replace Policy||Policy updated with literature review. References 9-11 added; other references renumbered. No change to policy statement|
|11/14/13||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review through September 25, 2013. References 17, 18 and 25 added; other references renumbered or removed. No change to policy statement.|
|11/13/14||Replace policy||Policy updated with literature review through September 22, 2014. Reference 19 added. No change to policy statement. Need for policy affirmed.|