Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in Children: A Narrative Review

J Int Adv Otol. 2022 Mar;18(2):177-182. doi: 10.5152/iao.2022.20087.


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a rare vestibular disorder in the pediatric population. It is a vestibulopathy characterized by brief attacks of vertigo, which occur after specific movements. This review aims to provide the current evidence regarding benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in children. This is a narrative review of the available literature on benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in children. The studies were retrieved from systematic searches on PubMed and by cross referencing. Few studies have focused on pediatric benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, and most are retrospective non-controlled studies that include a small number of children. The vast majority of cases of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in children have been reported to be secondary. The most frequent forms involve the posterior canal and the horizontal canal. The diagnosis is based on positional maneuvers, respectively the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, which reveals a torsional upbeating nystagmus; and the supine roll test, which reveals a geotropic, horizontal nystagmus. The treatment consists of physical repositioning maneuvers: the Semont or the modified Epley maneuver for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo involving the posterior canal and the Gufoni or the Barbecue maneuver in case of the horizontal canal. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in children can be resistant to treatment and repetitive positional maneuvers may be necessary, particularly for children with vestibular migraine or benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, who have a statistically significant major risk of having recurrences compared to patients who do not. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in children is a rare but well-recognized clinical entity. It is diagnosed by positional testing and treated by repositioning maneuvers. Wide awareness and education among pediatric providers and otolaryngologists are needed in order to avoid a delay in identification and treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo* / diagnosis
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo* / therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic* / diagnosis
  • Patient Positioning
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semicircular Canals