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Neurology. 2008 Sep 23;71(13):1006-14. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000326594.91291.f8.

Vestibular paroxysmia: diagnostic features and medical treatment.

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Department of Neurology, Klinikum Grosshadern, Neurologisches Forschungshaus, Munich, Germany.



Vestibular paroxysmia (VP), which is attributed to neurovascular cross-compression (NVCC), leads to vertiginous spells. Although VP was described more than 30 years ago by Jannetta and colleagues, we still need more reliable data on its diagnostic features and the efficacy of medical treatment.


A follow-up study of 32 patients with recurrent short spells of vertigo and with diagnosis of VP by published criteria was performed using medical records and patient consultation (mean follow-up time 31.3 months).


In 28% of patients the attacks occurred exclusively when at rest, whereas in 22% they were regularly precipitated by a certain action, most frequently a head turn (60%). The most common accompanying symptom was unsteadiness of stance or gait (75%). Constructive interference in steady state magnetic resonance imaging (n = 23) demonstrated at least one site of NVCC in all but one patient. Caloric testing disclosed a mild increase in vestibular deficit over time, and a hyperventilation-induced nystagmus was found in 70% of the tested patients (n = 23). The majority of patients were treated with carbamazepine (mean dose 568 mg/d) or oxcarbazepine (mean dose 870 mg/d). Treatment led to a significant reduction in the attack frequency to 10% of baseline (95% CI 6.69-14.96%), in attack intensity to 15% (95% CI 11.57-19.63%), and a reduction in attack duration to 11% (95% CI 6.72-17.40), after adjusting for time effects.


This follow-up proves the usefulness of the diagnostic criteria, especially constructive interference in steady state magnetic resonance imaging, and the therapeutic efficacy of medical treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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