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Steinmetz, Karoline ORCID: 0000-0002-9575-1848; Becker-Bense, Sandra; Strobl, Ralf; Grill, Eva ORCID: 0000-0002-0273-7984; Seelos, Klaus; Huppert, Doreen (2022): Vestibular paroxysmia: clinical characteristics and long-term course. In: Journal of Neurology, Vol. 269: pp. 6237-6245
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Abstract

In 2016, the Bárány Society defined new diagnostic criteria for the neurovascular compression syndrome of the eighth nerve, called “vestibular paroxysmia” (VP), differentiating between definite (dVP) and probable (pVP) forms. The aim of this study was (1) to describe clinical symptoms and laboratory findings in a well-diagnosed large patient cohort according to those criteria, and (2) to evaluate the long-term course over years in dVP. We identified 146 patients (73 dVP, 73 pVP) from our tertiary dizziness center registry. Data of structured history-taking, clinical neurological, neuro-ophthalmological/-otological examinations as well as MRI imaging were extracted for analyses. Overall, attack frequency ranged between 5 and 30 attacks per day; spinning vertigo was the most frequent type. In two-thirds of patients, attacks occurred spontaneously; in one-quarter, they were triggered by head movements. The majority (approximately 70%) reported no accompanying symptoms; in those with symptoms, mild unilateral cochlear symptoms prevailed. One-third of patients initially showed hyperventilation-induced nystagmus without specific direction, and a deviation of the subjective visual vertical between 3° and 6°. Complete loss of peripheral vestibular function was never evident. dVP and pVP significantly differed concerning the vertigo type, e.g., spinning vertigo was more frequent in dVP. Fortunately, three-quarters of dVP patients remained attack-free during follow-up (mean 4.8 years, standardized questionnaire), more than half of them even without any medication. Patients with ongoing attacks showed significantly higher attack frequency at baseline, but reported persistent frequency reduction. Overall, the long-term prognosis of VP appears favorable, not necessarily requiring ongoing treatment.