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Vertigo is defined as the sensation of self-motion when no motion is occurring. Vestibular disorders are conditions that affect the vestibular sensory organs in the inner ear or the cerebellum and brainstem and the connections between them.

Some patients have difficulty describing the sensation of vertigo.1 Dizziness is a nonspecific word patients use to describe vertigo, but is also used by some patients to describe the symptoms of presyncope, imbalance, lightheadedness, and other sensations. Assess patients for nonvestibular causes of dizziness such as orthostatic hypotension, presyncope, and new medications such as antihypertensives.

Vertigo is a diagnostic challenge because it has many potential causes (Table 170-1).

TABLE 170-1Peripheral and Central Causes of Vertigo

Three of the most common vestibular disorders are featured prominently in this chapter. These are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)...

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