Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and migraine: analysis of 186 cases

B-ENT. 2014;10(2):133-9.


Objective: This retrospective study assessed several clinical, case history and functional parameters to investigate benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) in patients with migraine.

Methods: Two groups of patients were compared: those affected by BPPV and migraine (group A), as defined by International Headache Society criteria, and those with BPPV without migraine or with another form of headache (group B). The following parameters were investigated: onset of BPPV, recovery time, residual dizziness, recurrence of BPPV, atypical eye movement patterns and Meniere-like vertigo in the inter-critical BPPV period.

Results: Mean age at BPPV onset was 39 years +/- 9.2 in Group A and 53 years +/- 7.3 in Group B (p = 0.00). No significant difference emerged in the number of manoeuvres needed to achieve recovery (Group A: 1.7 +/- 0.94; Group B: 1.9 +/- 0.89; p > 0.05). Highly recurrent BPPV (at least 4 documented episodes) was observed in 15 patients from group A (19.4%) and in 8 patients from group B (7.3%). Atypical eyes movements and Meniere-like vertigo were more frequent in migraineurs with highly recurrent BPPV (Chi square = 5.76; p < 0.016).

Conclusions: A high prevalence of BPPV and earlier onset in migraine are the main findings of this study. There is a higher incidence of a range of neurotological patterns in the intervals between BPPV episodes in migraineurs with recurrent vertigo. No direct pathophysiological link between migraine and BPPV has yet been established; comorbidity seems to affect clinical features in a sub-population of patients and make BPPV more debilitating.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vertigo / diagnosis*