Central vertigo

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Purpose of review

This review considers recent advances in central vertigo in terms of clinical and laboratory features and pathophysiology.

Recent findings

Strokes presenting dizziness–vertigo are more likely to be associated with a misdiagnosis in the emergency setting. The risk of future strokes after discharge is higher in patients diagnosed with peripheral vertigo than in control patients. Strokes and transient ischemic attacks account for one-quarter of acute transient vestibular syndrome. Diagnosis of acute combined central and peripheral vestibulopathy such as anterior inferior cerebellar artery infarction requires additional consideration whenever applying the HINTS (head impulse test, direction-changing gaze-evoked nystagmus, and test of skew). Heat illness and metronidazole have been recognized as new causes of central vestibulopathy. Some new findings have also been added to the clinical and laboratory features of central vertigo.


Central vertigo is a heterogeneous group of disorders with diverse clinical spectrums. An integrated approach based on understanding of clinical features, laboratory findings, speculated mechanisms, and limitations of current diagnostic tests will lead to better clinical practice.

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