Neuro-otological symptoms in patients with migraine

Neurologia. 2011 Mar;26(2):100-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2010.06.001. Epub 2010 Oct 20.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Neurootological symptoms are common in patients with migraine, and have been reported to be associated with diverse conditions.

Patients and methods: A total of 70 patients with a diagnosis of episodic migraine, with or without aura, attending our Migraine Unit were selected. The specific variables studied were the diagnosis of instability, psycho-physiological dizziness, presyncopal symptoms, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), migraine associated recurrent vertigo (MARV), and Meniere's disease.

Results: A total of 44.3% of cases had orthostatism or syncope, 15.7% with instability (possibly due to bilateral vestibular hypofunction), 14.2% with MARV and 8.6% with BPPV. The presence of BPPV was observed in older patients (40 years), whilst MARV was a condition seen in younger ones (35 years). These findings are of interest and remind us that benign paroxysmal vertigo is a childhood condition and age is a risk for BPPV.

Conclusions: Migraine patients often present with neuro-otological symptoms that can be classified as inter-episodic and episodic symptoms, and specific and non-specific migraine symptoms. This approach is of obvious pathophysiological interest, given that MARV and the possible vestibular hypofunction of migraine patients are symptoms that share physiological aspects with migraine, while the orthostatism symptoms and BPPV are non-specific and are seen to be associated with other conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ear Diseases / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Young Adult