Differential diagnosis of dizziness

Yvonne Chan
Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery 2009, 17 (3): 200-3

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Dizziness is one of the most common complaints among patients presenting to primary care physicians, neurologists, and otolaryngologists. This symptom is nonspecific and includes a broad differential diagnosis. The current review aims to present a general overview of the approach to dizziness as well as to discuss the more common causes in detail.

RECENT FINDINGS: The term dizziness encompasses a large spectrum of symptomatology. Understanding how to differentiate between vestibular disorders and other types of dizziness is the key to the evaluation and management of dizzy patients. The distinction between central and peripheral vertigo will be emphasized and the various causes of each type of vertigo will be presented.

SUMMARY: Dizziness is a common medical condition that impacts significantly on patients' activities of daily living. This review outlines the clinical approach to dizziness to facilitate timely diagnosis and management of this complex symptom.

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