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Keywords:

  • bedside examination;
  • migraine;
  • migrainous vertigo;
  • vestibular migraine;
  • vestibular function test

Background

Patients with vestibular migraine (VM) suffer attacks of vertigo that often occur in isolation from headache attacks. We aimed to assess and compare vestibular function interictally in patients with VM and patients with migraine without vertigo (M).

Methods

Thirty-eight patients diagnosed with definite VM according to the Neuhauser criteria, and 32 patients diagnosed with M according to the International Headache Society criteria were examined between attacks using a broad battery of bedside vestibular tests, a caloric test, and videonystagmography.

Results

Overall, 70% of the VM patients and 34% of the M patients showed abnormalities on one or more of the 14 performed vestibular tests (P = .006). Abnormal findings were more frequent in VM than in M patients on Romberg's test, test for voluntary fixation suppression of the vestibular ocular reflex and test for static positional nystagmus (P = .03, .01 and .04, respectively). There were no differences in the distribution of central and peripheral vestibular signs between VM and M patients.

Conclusions

Vestibular abnormalities were present interictally among both VM and M patients, but were found about twice as frequently among VM patients. This may indicate that subclinical vestibular dysfunction is an integral part of migraine pathology in general, and not solely in VM.