Spotlight on Vestibular migraine

Vestibular migraine presents with attacks of spontaneous or positional vertigo (head motion–induced) and visual vertigo lasting 5 minutes to 3 days. The diagnosis requires a history of migraine, temporal association of migraine symptoms with vertigo attacks, and exclusion of other causes. Because headache is often absent during acute attacks, other migraine features such as photophobia or auras have to be specifically inquired about. The pathophysiology of vestibular migraine is unknown, but several mechanisms link the trigeminal system, which is activated during migraine attacks, and the vestibular system. Treatment includes antiemetics for severe acute attacks, pharmacological migraine prophylaxis, and lifestyle changes.

In this clinical article, Dr. Thomas Lempert of Charité University Hospital and Dr. Michael von Brevern of Humboldt University discuss the manifestations, biological basis, diagnosis, and mananagement of vestibular migraine.

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