Combined horizontal and posterior canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in three patients with head trauma

Pierre Bertholon, Larbi Chelikh, Stéphane Tringali, Andrei Timoshenko, Christian Martin
Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology 2005, 114 (2): 105-10
We report 3 patients who complained of positional vertigo shortly after head trauma. Positional maneuvers performed in the plane of the posterior canal (PC; Dix-Hallpike maneuver) and the horizontal canal (HC; patients were rolled to either side in a supine position with the head raised 30 degrees) revealed a complex positional nystagmus that could only be interpreted as the result of combined PC and HC benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Two patients had a right PC BPPV and an ageotropic HC BPPV, and 1 patient had a bilateral PC BPPV and a left geotropic HC BPPV. All 3 patients were rapidly free of vertigo after the PC BPPV was cured by the Epley maneuver and the geotropic HC BPPV was cured by the Vannucchi method. The ageotropic HC BPPV resolved spontaneously. Neuroimaging (brain computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging scans) findings were normal in all 3 patients. From a physiopathological viewpoint, it is easy to conceive that head trauma could throw otoconial debris into different canals of each labyrinth and be responsible for these combined forms of BPPV. Consequently, in trauma patients with vertigo, it is mandatory to perform the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, as well as supine lateral head turns, in order to diagnose PC BPPV, HC BPPV, or the association of both. Early diagnosis and treatment of BPPV may help to reduce the postconcussion syndrome.

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