Vertigo and Dizziness: A Brief Review

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Curtis M. Marcoux, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Dr. Pradeep Shenoy, MD, DLO, FRCS, FACS,
is the ENT service chief, Campbellton Regional Hospital, Campbellton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Dizziness is the third most common symptom seen in patients of all age groups who present to emergency departments, outpatient clinics and physicians offices. Assessing dizziness requires a differentiation of potential causes through a comprehensive medical history and thorough physical exam. The most common causes of dizziness are peripheral vestibular disorders, however disorders of the central nervous system must be ruled out. Understanding how to distinguish between various underlying causes of vertigo is essential for the timely diagnosis and effective management of patients with this symptom. In this review, an overview of the epidemiology, etiology, presentation, diagnosis and treatment of the most common causes of vertigo will be presented, touching on some of the more rare determinants.
Key Words: Vertigo, dizziness, BPPV, vestibular neuronitis, Meniere's disease, vestibular migraine, vertebrobasilar insufficiency.