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Arch Neurol. 2003 Jan;60(1):71-5.

Drop attacks and vertigo secondary to a non-meniere otologic cause.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



Tumarkin falls are sudden drop-attack falls that occur in a subset of patients with Meniere syndrome (endolymphatic hydrops), an inner ear disorder characterized by vertigo spells and hearing loss.


To describe the clinical features and quantitative audiovestibular testing results in a case series of patients with Tumarkin falls, episodic vertigo, and normal hearing.


University referral center for disorders of balance and hearing.


Case series (unselected) of all patients with Tumarkin falls and a normal audiogram at least 1 year after onset of vestibular symptoms (n = 6) from a retrospective analysis of the records of all patients with Tumarkin falls presenting to Neurotology Clinic at UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif, from October 1, 1975, to February 1, 2001 (N = 55). Quantitative audiologic and vestibular function testing, neurologic history, and examination were performed.


Five of 6 patients had unilateral caloric paresis, and 1 had bilateral vestibulopathy. Five of 6 had a personal and/or family history of migraine headaches meeting International Headache Society criteria. All patients had a subjective sensation of feeling pushed by an external force, and half of the patients had a subjective tilt of the environment concurrent with the fall.


The incidence of migraine is high in this subgroup of patients with Tumarkin falls and normal hearing. The clinical description of the falls is similar to those associated with Meniere syndrome. Further studies are needed to understand the etiology of Tumarkin falls in these patients with normal hearing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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