Cardiogenic vertigo: characteristics and proposed diagnostic criteria.

Early identification of cardiogenic vertigo (CV) is necessary to prevent serious complications of cardiovascular diseases. However, the literature is limited to case reports without detailed clinical features or diagnostic criteria. The aim of this study was to define characteristics of CV and propose diagnostic criteria. This study included patients with CV diagnosed at Pusan National University and Keimyung University Hospitals. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and treatment data were analyzed. Of 72 patients with clinically suspicious CV, 27 were finally included. The age ranged from 63 to 88 years (75.1 ± 7.2 years). Recurrent vertigo occurred without syncopal attacks in 52% [95% CI, 32-71], while it preceded (37% [19-58]) or followed (11% [2-29]) syncope. The patients with recurrent isolated vertigo had suffered from symptoms from 15 days to 5 years until final diagnosis (median 122 days). The vertigo lasted only for a few seconds (93% [76-99]) or a few minutes (7% [1-24]). Fourteen patients presented with spinning vertigo, and one of them showed spontaneous downbeat nystagmus during the attack. Accompanying symptoms including chest discomfort, palpitation, headache, arm twitching, and lightheadedness were found in 70% [50-86]. Between patients with and without syncope, there was no difference in clinical parameters and results of cardiac function tests. The most common cardiac abnormality during the attacks of vertigo was bradyarrhythmia (89% [71-98]). Cardiovascular diseases can develop recurrent isolated vertigo without or preceding syncope. Onset age, duration of vertigo, accompanying symptoms, and underlying cardiac diseases can aid in differentiation from other vestibular disorders. Early identification of CV would reduce morbidity and mortality associated with cardiac syncope.

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