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Laryngoscope. 1991 Jan;101(1 Pt 2 Suppl 52):1-41.

Neurotologic findings in basilar migraine.

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Otologic Associates, San Antonio, TX 78229.


Treatment of a patient with otologic symptoms and associated migraine-like headache presents the otolaryngologist with formidable problems. Although clinical practice and scientific publications recognize their frequent association, relationships have yet to be well defined. This study seeks to add order to disarray by delineating symptoms and signs of a clearly identified group of migraine patients. Fifty patients with well-defined basilar migraine underwent a thorough neurotologic examination, as well as comprehensive auditory and vestibular testing. Patients were selected from 5880 patients seen over a 2-year period and were prospectively entered into the study after detailed questionnaires and testing were completed for each patient. The most common symptoms found were dysequilibrium, phonophobia, and head pressure. The most common signs were positional nystagmus, low-frequency hearing loss, abnormal loudness discomfort level, and an abnormality on caloric examination. Advanced vestibular testing showed abnormal amplitude scaling, abnormal toes-down pertubation, and an abnormal sway (condition 6) on dynamic posturography. There was frequently an asymmetry on computerized rotation. The author concludes that the majority of patients have subtle findings on testing, but a few have severe peripheral injury due to the basilar migraine. Findings are consistent with the theory that basilar migraine is a central nervous system maladaptation syndrome which creates otoneurologic symptoms and, in a small percentage of cases, may injure the peripheral end-organ.

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