OBJECTIVE: Vertigo in childhood is a complaint consisting of a wide spectrum of diagnoses. The aim of this study was to evaluate pediatric patients with vertigo with normal eardrum and middle ear findings and discuss the differential diagnoses. METHODS: Patient records of 50 children under 18 years of age with vertigo as the chief complaint, examined at the Baskent University, Research and Application Centers at Konya and Adana otorhinolaryngology clinics between May 2003 and October 2005 were retrospectively reviewed. The questionnaires, laboratory tests including blood samples, audiological and vestibular tests, and final diagnoses were analyzed. Patients with perforated eardrums, otitis media with effusion, and acute upper respiratory tract infections were not included in the study. RESULTS: The study group consisted of 50 patients (33 females, 66%; 17 males, 34%), between 4 and 17 years of age (mean age, 11.5+/-3.9 years). Severe sensorineural hearing loss was present in one patient unilaterally (2%) and one patient bilaterally (2%). Bilateral low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss was present in one patient (2%). Electronystagmography revealed central vestibular abnormalities in three patients (6%). Canal paresis was established in six patients (12%). The Dix-Hallpike test was positive in six patients (12%). The most frequent cause of vertigo was migraine, occurring in 34% of patients (n=17). Other less-frequent etiologies of vertigo were benign paroxysmal vertigo (n=6; 12%), benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (n=6; 12%), psychogenic vertigo (n=5; 10%), epilepsy (n=3; 6%), metabolic disorders (n=3; 6%), vestibular neuritis (n=2; 4%), Meniere's disease (n=1; 2%), perilymphatic fistula (n=1; 2%), amblyopia (n=1; 2%), and unclassifiable (n=5; 10%). CONCLUSIONS: Migraine was found to be the most frequent presenting diagnosis in childhood vertigo, although several peripheral vestibular disorders also were diagnosed. Evaluation of vertigo in childhood should begin with a thorough neuro-otologic evaluation and include other relevant multidisciplinary team members as needed to avoid unnecessary effort and cost.
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