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Int J Otolaryngol. 2009;2009:358019. doi: 10.1155/2009/358019. Epub 2009 Feb 15.

An unusual presentation of vertigo: is head titubation the key to diagnosis?

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Department of Otolaryngology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth PL6 8DH, UK.



Discuss complex interplay of pathophysiological effects of cerebellar space occupying lesions on the vestibular pathway. Discuss challenges of diagnosis and referral along with differential and final diagnosis of unusual presentation.


We describe the case of a patient with vertiginous symptoms complicated by neurological features, namely, head titubation and tremor. The patient also had signs of oscillopsia and possible impairment of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. The resulting symptom and sign complex made for a difficult diagnosis, as the interplay of the pathophysiology of these signs, were unusual.


The discussion has revealed that the cerebellar lesions themselves may have simultaneously caused head tremor and an inability for the vestibulo-ocular reflex to compensate, resulting in vertigo. However, whether the vertigo was a result of an oscillopsia, nystagmus, or central cause, the referral route should initially be via a general physician to rule out such a life threatening cause as a tumour.

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