Benign paroxysmal vertigo in childhood: A migraine equivalent

E. Mira, G. Piacentino, G. Lanzi, U. Balottin, E. Fazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The two main problems in defining and classifying the syndrome of benign paroxysmal vertigo (BPV) in childhood are the vestibular function pattern and the relationship between BPV and migraine. 13 children suffering from this syndrome were submitted to complete otoneurological examination, including caloric and rotational labyrinthine stimulation with ENG recording, and to headache provocation tests with nitroglycerin, histamine and fenfluramine. Vestibular responses were normal in all except 2 cases which presented signs of central vestibular impairment at the level of the vestibulocerebellar pathways. Headache provocation tests were positive in 9 out of 10 children, and in 4 cases they induced a typical vertiginous attack instead of headache. In addition, several children had a positive family history for migraine, headache was frequently associated with the crisis and other signs of a ‘periodic syndrome’ (motion sickness, cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain) were present, unrelated to vertiginous attacks. During the follow-up period, some children responded positively to migraine treatment. BPV, like paroxysmal torticollis in infancy and the signs of the periodic syndrome, can be considered a migraine equivalent or a migraine precursor and could be due to the same vascular and/or biochemical mechanisms responsible for the migraine. In children, for anatomical or developmental reasons, these mechanisms could selectively affect parts of the brain stem, including the vestibular nuclei and vestibulocerebellar pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1984


  • Vertigo and migraine
  • Vertigo in childhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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