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Open Access Research article

Awareness of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in central Israel

Lea Pollak

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology, The Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, 730 00 Zerifin, Israel

Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

BMC Neurology 2009, 9:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-17

Published: 22 April 2009

Abstract

Background

Despite its frequent occurrence and effective treatment options, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) still remains under-estimated in the community.

Methods

We reviewed referral letters and medical records of 120 patients who were treated for BPPV at our Dizziness Clinic during the years 2006–2008 and searched for factors that possibly contribute to missing this entity.

Results

The referral diagnosis could be clustered into four groups: BPPV (25.6%), further unspecified vertigo (36.6%), dizziness (27.5%) and other (10%). BPPV was recognized more frequently by ENT doctors than by other specialists.

Patients referred with the correct diagnosis of BPPV were significantly younger and the duration of their symptoms shorter than in other referral groups. Patients in the distinct referral groups did not differ in the presence of autonomic symptoms or a history of another serious disease. A history typical of BPPV could be obtained in all but 11 patients, but position dependence was noted by the referring physician only in 55 patients, 31 of them correctly assigned as possible BPPV. Only in two patients was the Dix-Hallpike test performed. Thirty two patients were diagnosed with BPPV in the past, but this did not influence the recognition of the recurrence of this clinical entity. About 40% of patients had an audiogram and/or brainstem auditory evoked potentials. Electronystagmography was performed in 7.5% and brain imaging in 14% of patients before referral.

Conclusion

Our results show that BPPV is still an under-recognized entity.

Education and the demand on specialists to learn how to treat BPPV, could improve the situation.