A perspective on recurrent vertigo

Richard R. Gacek, University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester

Abstract

The recurrent nature of the 3 most common vestibulopathies suggests a recurrent cause. Histopathology in temporal bones from patients with these syndromes - vestibular neuronitis (VN, n = 7), Meniere's disease (MD, n = 8) and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV, n = 5) - shows focal degeneration of vestibular nerve axons and degenerated nearby facial nerve meatal ganglion cells. Transmission electron microscopic confirmation of intracytoplasmic viral particles in surgically excised vestibular nerves from patients with VN and MD support a viral etiology in these vestibulopathies. Antiviral treatment of these syndromes in a series of 211 patients with a 3- to 8-year follow-up resulted in complete control of vertigo in VN (88%), MD (90%) and BPPV (60%).