Western Journal of Emergency Medicine: Integrating Emergency Care with Population Health
The Clinical Differentiation of Cerebellar Infarction from Common Vertigo Syndromes
- Author(s): Nelson, James A
- Viirre, Erik
- et al.
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.]