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Ear Nose Throat J. 2001 Dec;80(12):881-5.

Spontaneous vertigo and headache: endolymphatic hydrops or migraine?

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Balance Care Center, Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates, 10021 Dupont Circle Ct., Fort Wayne, IN 46825, USA.


We undertook a study to assess whether patients who had both spontaneous vertigo and headache would respond to treatment for endolymphatic hydrops rather than treatment for migraine. We also attempted to discover if there were any individual characteristics that might predict which patients with an equivocal history and symptoms would be more likely to have either of the two conditions as opposed to the other. All patients were initially treated for endolymphatic hydrops with sodium restriction and increased water intake. Response to treatment was assessed by three tools: the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, a symptom severity scale, and a disability scale. Patients who did not respond to treatment for endolymphatic hydrops were switched to treatment for migraine. At the first follow-up period, 23 patients were available for analysis by telephone survey. According to data obtained by the three assessment tools, 14 patients (60.9%) improved after initial therapy and six (26.1%) improved following subsequent migraine treatment; the remaining three patients (13.0%) did not comply with their initial treatment regimen, and they showed no improvement. Although no statistically significant conclusions can be drawn because of the small sample size, there were trends to suggest that certain demographic, clinical, and objective-testing characteristics might predict which patients are likely to have one of these two conditions as opposed to the other. We conclude that a stepwise approach to treatment, beginning with therapy for endolymphatic hydrops, is an appropriate strategy. Also, the fact that no improvement was seen among the three patients who did not comply suggests that improvement is indeed the result of treatment rather than simply a function of the passage of time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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