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Rehab Measures: Dix–Hallpike Maneuver

Link to instrument


Title of Assessment

Dix–Hallpike Maneuver 



Instrument Reviewer(s)

Initially reviewed by Jason Raad, MS in 4/2012. Reviewed and Updated by  Karen Lambert PT, MPT, NCS and Linda B. Horn PT, DScPT, MHS, NCS of the VEDGE task force for the Neurology section of the APTA in 2013

Summary Date



To Diagnose Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) of the Posterior Semicircular Canal


  • The patient begins in long-sitting on a treatment table. Frenzel/Infrared goggles may be worn to assist the clinician to properly visualize the eye(s) during the test procedure.  While it is recommended that goggles be used, the test can be performed in room light without goggles
  • The patient is instructed to rotate his/her head 45 degrees toward the direction of the ear being tested. With the assistance of the clinician, the patient is then instructed to quickly lie back onto the table so that their neck is extended approximately 30 degrees.If the patient lacks cervical extension.   The test position can be modified by positioning a pillow or wedge under the patient's shoulders
  • The clinician then observes the patient's eyes for approximately 60 seconds
  • Benign positional paroxysmal vertigo of the posterior canal is diagnosed if an upward and ipsitorsional nystagmus is observed by the evaluator and the patient reports symptoms of vertigo
  • If the Dix-Hallpike maneuver cannot be easily administered due to cervical range of motion limitations, the side-lying test may yield similar results (see Cohen, 2004 for more information)

Area of Assessment


Body Part


ICF Domain

Body Structure 



Assessment Type


Length of Test

05 Minutes or Less 

Time to Administer

< 5 minutes

Number of Items


Equipment Required

Examination table and Frenzel Goggles (recommended)

Training Required

No instrument specific training required, although helpful.

Type of training required

Reading an Article/Manual 



Actual Cost

Test is free, Frenzel goggles cost > $1000

Age Range

Child: 6-12 years; Adolescent: 13-17 years; Adult: 18-64 years; Elderly adult: 65+ 

Administration Mode



Geriatrics; Vestibular Disorders 

Populations Tested

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Elderly
  • TBI
  • Vestibular

Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Not Established

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Not Established

Minimally Clinically Important Difference (MCID)

Not Established

Cut-Off Scores

Not Established

Normative Data

Rates of BPPV in young population:

(Kerrigan et al. 2012; n = 198; 99 male, 99 female, aged 18-34, healthy subjects without complaints of dizziness or imbalance)

  • 9% (12% female, 5% male) with positionally induced nystagmus

Rates of BPPV in elderly population:

(Ogahali et al. 2000; n = 100; 28 male, 72 female, aged 51-95, patients treated in a geriatric clinic without previous reported

  • 9% with positive dix-hallpike testing

Lifetime prevalence:

(von Brevern et al. 2003; n = 1003)

  • Lifetime prevalence 2.4% (3.2% female, 1.6% male)
  • Mean age of onset 49.4 years (SD 13.8)

(Liu 2012; n = 86)

  • 16% patients with dizziness = bppv katsarkas



Test-retest Reliability

Not Established

Interrater/Intrarater Reliability

Adults with a history of vertigo
(Burston et al, 2012)
  • Excellent agreement between two assessors (Kappa = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.87–0.98)

Internal Consistency

Not Established

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Predictive Validity
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo:
(Pollak et al, 2002; n = 58 patients with BPPV who were treated during the past 4 years; mean age = 55.8(14.2) years)
  • 78% of patients (18 of 23) with positive Dix-Hallpike as only sign of vestibular dysfunction in laboratory testing did not demonstrate positional nystagmus after one particle repositioning maneuver
  • 74% of patients (43 of 58 total patients in study) with positive Dix-Hallpike did not demonstrate positional nystagmus after one particle repositioning maneuver
  • 38% (22 of 58 total patients) remained symptomatic despite negative Dix-Hallpike follow-up tests.


Construct Validity (Convergent/Discriminant)

Not Established

Content Validity

Not Established

Face Validity

Not Established

Floor/Ceiling Effects

Not Established



(Pollak et al, 2002; n = 58 patients with BPPV who were treated during the past 4 years; mean age = 55.8(14.2) years)

  • 74% of patients (43 of 58 total patients in study) with positive Dix-Hallpike did not demonstrate positional nystagmus after one particle repositioning maneuver
  • 38% (22 of 58 total patients) remained symptomatic despite negative Dix-Hallpike follow-up tests.


Professional Association Recommendations

Recommendations for use of the instrument from the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Multiple Sclerosis Taskforce (MSEDGE), Parkinson’s Taskforce (PD EDGE), Spinal Cord Injury Taskforce (PD EDGE), Stroke Taskforce (StrokEDGE), Traumatic Brain Injury Taskforce (TBI EDGE), and Vestibular Taskforce (VEDGE) are listed below. These recommendations were developed by a panel of research and clinical experts using a modified Delphi process.


For detailed information about how recommendations were made, please visit:




Highly Recommend




Reasonable to use, but limited study in target group  / Unable to Recommend


Not Recommended


Recommendations for use based on acuity level of the patient:



(CVA < 2 months post)

(SCI < 1 month post)

(Vestibular < 6 weeks post)


(CVA 2 to 6 months)

(SCI 3 to 6 months)


(> 6 weeks)







Recommendations based on vestibular diagnosis




Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)









Recommendations for entry-level physical therapy education and use in research:


Students should learn to administer this tool? (Y/N)

Students should be exposed to tool? (Y/N)

Appropriate for use in intervention research studies? (Y/N)

Is additional research warranted for this tool (Y/N)







  • Due to the frequency of BPPV that has been detected in individuals who had not previously reported symptoms, the VEDGE task force recommends performing positional testing to rule out positional vertigo when assessing any patient that complaints of dizziness and balance impairments
  • Some training is recommended (through coursework or article review) to assist with technique and interpretation (as improper positioning could result in a false negative test)
  • If a patient is unable to attain proper positioning for the Dix-Halpike test, an alternative test (such as the sidelying test) should be performed
  • 11% of patients may have false-negative results when first assessed (Burston et al, 2012)
  • Up to 25% of patients with BPPV may not demonstrate nystagmus during the Dix–Hallpike test (Noda et al, 2011)


Burston, A., Mossman, S., et al. (2012). "Are there diurnal variations in the results of the Dix-Hallpike manoeuvre?" J Clin Neurosci 19(3): 415-417. Find it on PubMed

Cohen, H. S. (2004). "Side-lying as an alternative to the Dix-Hallpike test of the posterior canal." Otol Neurotol 25(2): 130-134. Find it on PubMed

Dix, M. and Hallpike, C. (1952). "The pathology, symptomatology and diagnosis of certain common disorders of the vestibular system." Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 45(6): 341. 

Gordon, C. R., Levite, R., et al. (2004). "Is posttraumatic benign paroxysmal positional vertigo different from the idiopathic form?" Arch Neurol 61(10): 1590. Find it on PubMed

Halker, R. B., Barrs, D. M., et al. (2008). "Establishing a diagnosis of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo through the dix-hallpike and side-lying maneuvers: a critically appraised topic." Neurologist 14(3): 201-204. Find it on PubMed

Kerrigan, M. A., Costigan, M. F., et al. (2013). "Prevalence of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in the young adult population." PM R 5(9): 778-785. Find it on PubMed

Noda, K., Ikusaka, M., et al. (2011). "Predictors for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo with positive Dix-Hallpike test." Int J Gen Med 4: 809-814. Find it on PubMed

Oghalai, J. S., Manolidis, S., et al. (2000). "Unrecognized benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in elderly patients." Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 122(5): 630-634. Find it on PubMed

Pollak, L., Davies, R. A., et al. (2002). "Effectiveness of the particle repositioning maneuver in benign paroxysmal positional vertigo with and without additional vestibular pathology." Otology & neurotology 23(1): 79. Find it on PubMed

Year published


Instrument in PDF Format

Approval Status Approved 
Created at 4/14/2012 5:07 PM  by Jason Raad 
Last modified at 9/3/2014 10:32 AM  by Jason Raad