Common causes of vertigo

What are the common causes of vertigo? 

The causes of vertigo are central (due to a brain stem lesion) or peripheral (due to an inner ear or vestibular nerve lesion).

Central vertigo is almost always accompanied by other signs of brain stem dysfunction, such as double vision, weakness or numbness of the face, dysarthria, or dysphagia.

Peripheral vertigo is usually accompanied by tinnitus or hearing loss but no other neurologic abnormalities.

Common Causes of Vertigo

Brain stem stroke or transient ischemic attackVestibular neuronitis
Multiple sclerosisBenign paroxysmal positional vertigo
NeoplasmsMénière’s disease
SyringobulbiaLocal trauma or posttraumatic
Arnold–Chiari deformityPhysiologic (e.g., motion sickness)
AntineoplasticsDrugs/toxins (e.g., antibiotics, diuretics, or anticonvulsants)
Basilar migrainePosterior fossa tumors/masses (e.g., acoustic neuroma)
Cerebellar hemorrhage


Karp BI, Laurend R: Pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis: A neurologic disorder following rapid correction of hyponatremia. Medicine 72:369-371, 1993.


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