vertigo (ver'ti-go) (ver-ti'go) [L. vertigo, a turning round]
The sensation of moving around in space (subjective vertigo) or of having objects move about the person (objective vertigo). Vertigo is sometimes inaccurately used as a synonym for dizziness, lightheadedness, or giddiness. It may be caused by a variety of entities, including middle ear disease; toxic conditions such as those caused by salicylates, alcohol, or streptomycin; sunstroke; postural hypotension; or toxemia due to food poisoning or infectious diseases. See: vection
Assessment should include whether the patient experiences a sense of turning or whirling and its direction; whether it is intermittent and the time of day it occurs; whether it is associated with drugs, turning over in bed, occupation, or menses; whether it is associated with nausea and vomiting or with nystagmus and migraine. Safety measures, such as the use of siderails in bed, are instituted. The patient should ambulate gradually after a slow, assisted move from a sitting position. The call bell should be available at all times; tissues, water, and other supplies should be within easy reach; and furniture and other obstacles should be removed from the path of ambulation. The patient who has undergone ear surgery and experiences severe vertigo should be confined to bed for several days and then begin to gradually increase activity.
Vertigo associated with a sudden decrease in the pressure to which the inner ear is exposed. This could occur when a scuba diver ascends quickly or when an aircraft ascends quickly. See: bends
Vertigo due to disease of the ear.
benign paroxysmal positional vertigo Abbreviation: BPPV
Synonym: canalithiasis See: canalith repositioning maneuver
A disorder of the inner ear (labyrinth) characterized by intermittent attacks of vertigo triggered by positional changes of the head. Each episode of vertigo may last from less than a minute to a few minutes, with varying degrees of symptom severity. Episodes may recur for weeks intermittently over a period of years.
A sudden change in head position (such as turning over from one side to another in bed) brings on symptoms that may include dizziness or vertigo, lightheadedness, imbalance, and nausea. Dropping the head back when lying down, rolling over in bed, and getting out of bed are common problematic motions. BPPV may be called “top shelf” vertigo because its sufferers often feel dizzy and unsteady when tipping their heads back to look up. Stationary beauty parlor hairdryers may bring on symptoms. Symptoms of vertigo are often accompanied by nystagmus.
Motion sickness medications (e.g., the antihistamine meclizine) may be prescribed to control associated nausea. Several physical maneuvers (habituation or Brand-Daroff exercises) taught to the patient provide effective relief of symptoms.
Vertigo caused by disease of the central nervous system.
Vertigo due to brain disease.
Vertigo that may occur in epidemic form. It is believed to be due to vestibular neuronitis.
Vertigo accompanying or following an epileptic attack.
Vertigo from an unknown cause.
Vertigo associated with a gastric disturbance.
Vertigo that occurs while the patient is supine.
Vertigo accompanying hysteria.
An out-of-date term for Ménière's disease.
Fainting that occurs while coughing vigorously.
Vertigo in which stationary objects appear to be moving.
Vertigo caused by disease of the eye.
Vertigo due to a brain lesion.
Vertigo due to disturbances in the peripheral areas of the central nervous system.
postural vertigoPositional vertigo.
rotary vertigoSubjective vertigo.
Vertigo in which the patient has the sensation of turning or rotating. Synonym: rotary vertigo
Vertigo caused by the presence of a toxin in the body.
Vertigo produced by standing or by looking up or down.
Vertigo due to disease or malfunction of the vestibular apparatus.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners