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Neurol Clin. 2015 Aug;33(3):669-85, x. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2015.04.012.

Acute Unilateral Vestibulopathy.

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Department of Neurology, German Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders, University Hospital Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Munich 81377, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Otolaryngology, Lund University, Lund 22100, Sweden.


Normal vestibular end organs generate an equal resting-firing frequency of the axons, which is the same on both sides under static conditions. An acute unilateral vestibulopathy leads to a vestibular tone imbalance. Acute unilateral vestibulopathy is defined by the patient history and the clinical examination and, in unclear cases, laboratory examinations. Key signs and symptoms are an acute onset of spinning vertigo, postural imbalance and nausea as well as a horizontal rotatory nystagmus beating towards the non-affected side, a pathological head-impulse test and no evidence for central vestibular or ocular motor dysfunction. The so-called big five allow a differentiation between a peripheral and central lesion by the bedside examination. The differential diagnosis of peripheral labyrinthine and vestibular nerve disorders mimicking acute unilateral vestibulopathy includes central vestibular disorders, in particular "vestibular pseudoneuritis" and other peripheral vestibular disorders, such as beginning Menière's disease. The management of acute unilateral vestibulopathy involves (1) symptomatic treatment with antivertiginous drugs, (2) causal treatment with corticosteroids, and (3) physical therapy.


Nystagmus; Vertigo; Vestibular neuritis; Vestibulopathy

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