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Diagnostic indices for vertiginous diseases

Otmar Bayer1*, Jan-Christian Warninghoff2 and Andreas Straube3

Author Affiliations

1 Integrated center for research and treatment of vertigo, balance and ocular motor disorders Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Heiglhofstr. 63, 81377 Munich, Germany

2 Isar-Amper-Klinikum München-Ost, Vockestraße 72, 85540 Haar bei München, Germany

3 Department of Neurology, University of Munich, Marchioninistraße 15, 81377 Munich, Germany

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BMC Neurology 2010, 10:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-98

Published: 25 October 2010



Vertigo and dizziness are symptoms which are reported frequently in clinical practice. We aimed to develop diagnostic indices for four prevalent vertiginous diseases: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Menière's disease (MD), vestibular migraine (VM), and phobic postural vertigo (PPV).


Based on a detailed questionnaire handed out to consecutive patients presenting for the first time in our dizziness clinic we preselected a set of seven questions with desirable diagnostic properties when compared with the final diagnosis after medical workup. Using exact logistic regression analysis diagnostic scores, each comprising of four to six items that can simply be added up, were built for each of the four diagnoses.


Of 193 patients 131 questionnaires were left after excluding those with missing consent or data. Applying the suggested cut-off points, sensitivity and specificity were 87.5 and 93.5% for BPPV, 100 and 87.4% for MD, 92.3 and 83.7% for VM, 73.7 and 84.1% for PPV, respectively. By changing the cut-off points sensitivity and specificity can be adjusted to meet diagnostic needs.


The diagnostic indices showed promising diagnostic properties. Once further validated, they could provide an ease to use and yet flexible tool for screening vertigo in clinical practice and epidemiological research.