Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Clinical Differentiation of Cerebellar Infarction from Common Vertigo Syndromes


This article summarizes the emergency department approach to diagnosing cerebellar infarction in the patient presenting with vertigo. Vertigo is defined and identification of a vertigo syndrome is discussed. The differentiation of common vertigo syndromes such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Meniere’s disease, migrainous vertigo, and vestibular neuritis is summarized. Confirmation of a peripheral vertigo syndrome substantially lowers the likelihood of cerebellar infarction, as do indicators of a peripheral disorder such as an abnormal head impulse test. Approximately 10% of patients with cerebellar infarction present with vertigo and no localizing neurologic deficits. The majority of these may have other signs of central vertigo, specifically direction-changing nystagmus and severe ataxia.

[West J Emerg Med. 2009;10(4):273-277.]

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View