Cerebellar infarction presenting isolated vertigo: frequency and vascular topographical patterns

H Lee, S-I Sohn, Y-W Cho, S-R Lee, B-H Ahn, B-R Park, R W Baloh
Neurology 2006 October 10, 67 (7): 1178-83

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of cerebellar infarction mimicking vestibular neuritis (VN), the pattern of clinical presentation, and the territory of the cerebellar infarction when it simulates VN.

METHODS: We studied 240 consecutive cases of isolated cerebellar infarction in the territories of the cerebellar arteries diagnosed by brain MRI from the acute stroke registry at the Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center.

RESULTS: We identified 25 patients (10.4%) with isolated cerebellar infarction who had clinical features suggesting VN. Two types of cerebellar infarction simulating VN were found: isolated spontaneous prolonged vertigo with imbalance as a sole manifestation of cerebellar infarction (n = 24) and isolated spontaneous prolonged vertigo with imbalance as an initial manifestation of cerebellar infarction (n = 1) followed by delayed neurologic deficits 2 days after the onset. The cerebellar infarction territory most commonly involved was the medial branch of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery territory (24/25: 96%), followed by the anterior inferior cerebellar artery territory (1/25: 4%). None of patients with infarcts in the territory of the superior cerebellar artery or multiple cerebellar arteries showed isolated spontaneous prolonged vertigo.

CONCLUSIONS: Cerebellar infarction simulating vestibular neuritis is more common than previously thought. Early recognition of the pseudo-vestibular neuritis of vascular cause may allow specific management.

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