Subclinical vestibular dysfunction in migraineurs without vertigo: A Clinical study

L. Bernetti, C. Pellegrino, I. Corbelli, S. Caproni, P. Eusebi, M. Faralli, G. Ricci, P. Calabresi, P. Sarchielli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This observational study aimed to investigate the presence of potential vestibular system subclinical dysfunction among migraineurs without a history of vertigo and dizziness compared with healthy controls. Methods: Patients diagnosed with episodic migraine with and without aura were enrolled. All patients and healthy controls underwent vestibular examination using the following conventional tests: sitting position, Pagnini-McClure's, Dix-Hallpike's, head hanging, video head impulse, subjective visual vertical, Romberg, Fukuda, and caloric vestibular stimulation by Fitzgerald-Hallpike's tests. Nystagmus and angular velocity of the slow phase during culmination phase was analyzed by video-nystagmography. Results: Overall, 33 patients (76% female, 7 with aura and 26 without aura; mean age (mean ± SD): 29.1 ± 4.3 years) and 22 controls (33% female, mean age: 30.8 ± 9.4 years) were enrolled. There were no statistically significant differences in demographic features between patients and controls. Caloric vestibular stimulation test results were found to differ among patients and controls. In particular, right and left angular velocity (AV) were highly correlated one another (r = 0.88, P < .001). Right AV (53.0 ± 6.7 vs 44.0 ± 9.6) and left AV (54.3 ± 5.3 vs 43.3 ± 9.0) were statistically higher in migraineurs as compared to controls (P < .001). Also right V-HIT (1.1 ± 0.1 vs 0.8 ± 0.4) and left V-HIT (1.1 ± 0.1 vs 0.7 ± 0.2) were statistically higher in migraineurs compared to controls (P < .001). Conclusion: Our findings suggest a subclinical alteration of vestibular pathway in migraineurs who have never complained vertigo or postural imbalance. This finding supports the hypothesis of a vestibular-cerebellar dysfunction in migraineurs, particularly among those with aura.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Caloric vestibular stimulation
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Vertigo
  • Vestibular system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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