Isolated transient vertigo : posterior circulation ischemia or benign origin?

  • Background: Isolated transient vertigo can be the only symptom of posterior circulation ischemia. Thus, it is important to differentiate isolated vertigo of a cerebrovascular origin from that of more benign origins, as patients with cerebral ischemia have a much higher risk for future stroke than do those with "peripheral" vertigo. The current study aims to identify risk factors for cerebrovascular origin of isolated transient vertigo, and for future cerebrovascular events. Methods: From the files of 339 outpatients with isolated transient vertigo we extracted history, clinical and technical findings, diagnosis, and follow-up information on subsequent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Risk factors were analyzed using multivariate regression models (logistic or Cox) and reconfirmed in univariate analyses. Results: On first presentation, 48 (14.2%) patients received the diagnosis "probable or definite cerebrovascular vertigo". During follow-up, 41 patients suffered stroke or TIA (event rate 7.9 per 100 person years, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.5–10.4), 26 in the posterior circulation (event rate 4.8 per 100 person years, 95% CI 3.0–6.7). The diagnosis was not associated with follow-up cerebrovascular events. In multivariate models testing multiple potential determinants, only the presentation mode was consistently associated with the diagnosis and stroke risk: patients who presented because of vertigo (rather than reporting vertigo when they presented for other reasons) had a significantly higher risk for future stroke or TIA (p = 0.028, event rate 13.4 vs. 5.4 per 100 person years) and for future posterior circulation stroke or TIA (p = 0.044, event rate 7.8 vs. 3.5 per 100 person years). Conclusions: We here report for the first time follow-up stroke rates in patients with transient isolated vertigo. In such patients, the identification of those with cerebrovascular origin remains difficult, and presentation mode was found to be the only consistent risk factor. Confirmation in an independent prospective sample is needed.

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Author:Tobias F. Blasberg, Lea Wolf, Christian Henke, Matthias Lorenz
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):BMC neurology
Publisher:BioMed Central ; Springer
Place of publication:London ; Berlin ; Heidelberg
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2017
Date of first Publication:2017/06/14
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/01/23
Tag:Cerebrovascular; Stroke; Transient; Transient ischemic attack; Vertigo
Issue:1, Art. 111
Page Number:6
First Page:1
Last Page:6
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0