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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Jan;267(1):13-9. doi: 10.1007/s00405-009-1122-5. Epub 2009 Oct 16.

Vertigo and autoimmunity.

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  • 1Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, University Hospital of Ferrara, Corso Giovecca, 203, 44100, Ferrara, Italy.


Autoimmune inner ear disease probably accounts for less than 1% of all cases of balance disorders, but its incidence is often overlooked due to the absence of a specific diagnostic test. Furthermore, in several systemic autoimmune diseases the vestibulo-cochlear system may be affected. Clinical features comprise generalized imbalance, ataxia, motion intolerance, episodic vertigo and positional vertigo. An autoimmune mechanism seems to be responsible for 6% of unilateral and 16% of bilateral forms of Ménière's disease. Oscillopsia and disequilibrium secondary to a bilateral vestibular paresis are probably caused by an autoimmune response in 5% of cases. Balance disorders of central origin may be due to other immuno-mediated disorders such as multiple sclerosis, brainstem encephalitis and vasculitidis. Aim of this paper is to assess the clinical features of autoimmune vertigo disorders through a systematic literature review.

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