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Postgrad Med. 1987 Mar;81(4):251-8.

Peripheral labyrinthine causes of dizziness.


A patient's complaint of dizziness must be defined specifically. Many dizzy patients do not have labyrinthine or balance system disease. The patient with dysequilibrium, on the other hand, often has a balance system disease but not necessarily a labyrinthine disorder. The patient with vertigo most likely has labyrinthine disease. Vertigo is accompanied by nystagmus, which can be identified only when the examiner specifically looks for it. Although vertigo is the classic symptom of labyrinthine disease, not all labyrinthine diseases have associated vertigo. Careful history taking, physical examination, audiometry, caloric testing, electronystagmography, and radiographic studies will identify patients with labyrinthine disorders. Treatment depends on the diagnosis. Usually it is medical, but occasionally it may be surgical. Most patients have no residual problems; a few have permanent disability.

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