Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Positional Vertigo Evaluation

An evaluation of benign positional vertigo begins with a medical history and physical examination.

Physical findings with benign positional vertigo may include:

  • Nystagmus:
    • Abnormal jerky eye movements.
  • Vertigo that is triggered by position
    • Benign vertigo can usually be triggered by positioning the head 45 degrees to one side, while leaning the head back off of the end of the bed. This maneuver is called a Nylen-Barany or Hallpike-Dix test. The dizziness usually lasts only a few minutes. If this maneuver does not reproduce the vertigo, another condition may be causing the dizziness.

Tests may be required to exclude more serious causes of dizziness. Brain imaging studies can be used to detect a brain tumor, acoustic neuroma, or stroke.

Tests that may be used to evaluate benign positional vertigo include:

Other neurologic tests that may be used to evaluate benign positional vertigo include:

Continue to Positional Vertigo Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Positional Vertigo References
  1. Chiou WY, Lee HL, Tsai SC, Yu TH, Lee XX. A single therapy for all subtypes of horizontal canal positional vertigo. Laryngoscope. 2005 Aug;115(8):1432-5. [16094118]
  2. Halmagyi GM. Diagnosis and management of vertigo. Clin Med. 2005 Mar-Apr;5(2):159-65. [15847010]
  3. Prokopakis EP, Chimona T, Tsagournisakis M, et al. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: 10-Year Experience in Treating 592 Patients with Canalith Repositioning Procedure. Laryngoscope. 2005 Sep;115(9):1667-1671. [16148714]
  4. White J. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: how to diagnose and quickly treat it. Cleve Clin J Med. 2004 Sep;71(9):722-8. [1547870]
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