Pitfalls in the diagnosis of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

C. R. Gordon, O. Zur, R. Furas, E. Kott, N. Gadoth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common but often unrecognized cause of treatable vertigo. Possible causes of misdiagnosis of BPPV were studied by review of the records of 191 patients referred to our neurology clinic; 36 were identified as having BPPV not previously diagnosed. On referral the patients carried the following diagnoses: unspecified dizziness/vertigo (33%), transient ischemic attacks (28%), cervicogenic vertigo (19%), psychogenic dizziness/vertigo (11%), and others (8%). The paroxysmal nature of the vertigo and position-precipitating factors were not spontaneously reported by 31%. Atypical, even bizarre, symptoms including dizzy sensations were reported by 19%, and neck pain and headache were cardinal symptoms that accompanied vertigo. The Dix-Hallpike maneuver, which is essential for the diagnosis of BPPV, was not performed in any of the patients prior to referral. 30 (83%) experienced complete resolution of signs and symptoms after the first physical treatment session. We conclude that non-paroxysmal, non-positional vertigo does not rule out BPPV. Atypical and even bizarre complaints of dizziness, as well as neck pain and headache could be cardinal symptoms of BPPV. The Dix-Hallpike maneuver is mandatory in those complaining of dizziness and vertigo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1027, 1087
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


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