Recurrent Vestibular Migraine Vertigo Attacks Associated With the Development of Profound Bilateral Vestibulopathy: A Case Series

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Abstract

Background:

Bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP) is a debilitating condition characterized by gait ataxia, oscillopsia, and imbalance.

Objective:

Case series of patients with migraine-linked vertigo spells and profound BVP.

Patient 1:

A 69-year-old man presented with a history of recurrent severe vertigo spells lasting up to 3 days in duration associated with prostrating migraine headaches starting at age 60. His symptoms were misdiagnosed as an anxiety syndrome. At age 68, electronystagmography (ENG) revealed bilaterally absent caloric responses and complete BVP. His hearing was normal.

Patient 2:

A 51-year-old man presented with a history of “earthquake-like” vertigo, sharp head pain, and phonophobia. These episodes occurred a handful of times over a 7-year period. Previous ENG testing at age 43 was normal. However, his ENG at age 48 revealed complete BVP. He was started on acetazolamide and noted improved balance, although subsequent ENG was unchanged.

Patient 3:

A 49-year-old woman presented with a history of recurrent migraines with visual aura associated with vertigo lasting 1 hour. ENG at age 50 revealed complete BVP. Subjectively, she noted improved balance with acetazolamide and subsequent ENG demonstrated mild improvement.

Patient 4:

A 43-year-old man presented with a 5-year history of optical migraines and recurrent vertigo spells, lasting 30 seconds, which was misdiagnosed as positional vertigo. He additionally had a 10-year history of oscillopsia. ENG at age 61 revealed complete BVP.

Conclusion:

In these cases, vestibular migraine was linked to recurrent vertigo spells that eventually led to complete bilateral vestibulopathy.

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