The Seasonal Variation of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

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Abstract

Objective:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is characterized by recurrent episodes of positional vertigo due to dislodged otoconia debris within the semicircular canals. Many studies have proposed a correlation between Vitamin-D deficiency and recurrent BPPV. In the UK, serum Vitamin-D falls during the winter, reaching its lowest level in May and it is highest level in September. We hypothesize that if there is a relationship between BPPV and Vitamin-D levels, one would expect to see a seasonal variation in the incidence of BPPV among UK residents.

Methods:

A retrospective review of clinic letters and general practitioner referrals for patients presenting to a University Otolaryngology department over a 4-year period. Patients were divided into two groups: those presenting during the months associated with low serum Vitamin-D levels, and those presenting during the months associated with high serum Vitamin-D levels.

Results:

Three hundred thirty-nine patients were identified with posterior canal BPPV as a consequence of having had a positive Dix-Hallpike maneuver recorded in the clinical notes between October 2012 and October 2016. A Wilcoxon rank-sum test demonstrated there to be a statistically significant difference between the low serum Vitamin-D group and the high serum Vitamin-D group (p  = 0.0367).

Conclusion:

The results confirm that there is a seasonal variation in the incidence of BPPV. This study is important as it adds to the mounting literature suggesting an association between serum Vitamin-D levels and BPPV. Second, it suggests a therapeutic strategy to improve outcomes in affected patients. Third, it adds significance to the hypothesized role of calcium metabolism for the development of inner ear disease.

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