OBJECTIVE: To evaluate patients after blunt trauma of the head, neck, and craniocervical junction (without fractures) with vertigo and to report the results of treatment after extensive diagnostics.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study of consecutive new cases with vertigo after trauma at different periods of onset. During 2000-2002, 63 patients were examined and treated.
SETTING: Regional trauma medical center for the greater Berlin Area, tertiary referral unit.
RESULTS: The primary disorders included labyrinthine concussion (18), rupture of the round window membrane (6), and cervicogenic vertigo (12). The secondary disorders included otolith disorders (5), delayed endolymphatic hydrops (12), and canalolithiasis (9). The patients were free of vertigo symptoms (except cervicogenic and otolith disorder) after treatment, which consisted of habituation training, medical and surgical therapy options. The follow-up was 1 year.
CONCLUSION: Posttraumatic vertigo can be treated with a high success rate once the underlying disorder has been identified. The extent of the neurotological test battery determines the precision and quality of diagnostics. Surgical measures should be an integral part of treatment modalities if conservative treatment is not effective.
SIGNIFICANCE: Minor trauma of the head, neck, and craniocervical junction can have major impact on the vestibular system at different sites. Patients need to be carefully diagnosed, even if the onset of vertigo occurs a few weeks or months after the initial trauma.