The Curbsiders Internal Medicine Podcast

#49: Vertigo and Dizziness: How to Treat, Who to Send Home and Who Might Have a Stroke

July 24, 2017
82 min

A simplified approach to dizziness/vertigo with tips from international expert, Dr. David Newman-Toker, Professor of Neurology, Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University. We learn how to differentiate stroke from other causes of dizziness/vertigo; how to approach the differential diagnosis in dizziness/vertigo; how to perform the Dix-Hallpike test, Epley maneuver, and HINTS exam; plus, who benefits from medical therapy and vestibular rehab.

Special thanks to Dr. Cyrus Askin who found our expert, wrote the questions for this episode, and acted as our cohost.

Full show notes available at

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Case: A 45-year-old man presents to the emergency department because of continuous dizziness, nausea, vomiting and unsteady gait that began 18 hours earlier.

Time Stamps

00:00 Intro

04:16 Getting to know our guest

11:56 Clinical Case

13:13 Why can’t patients describe their dizziness?

15:20 Classifying dizziness

18:35 The 3 vestibular syndrome buckets defined

22:14 Episodic vestibular syndrome differential diagnosis

26:49 Acute vestibular syndrome differential diagnosis

28:08 Chronic vestibular syndrome differential diagnosis

30:15 Challenges of medical history taking

32:10 Approach to the acute vestibular syndrome/HINTS

33:38 How to evaluate nystagmus

38:00 How to perform the head impulse test (aka head thrust)

45:56 How to perform “test of skew” (alternate cover testing)

47:45 Recap of HINTS exam and discussion of MRI

50:50 Signs and symptoms of cerebellar stroke

55:17 Use of Dix-Hallpike for episodic vertigo

57:00 How to perform Dix-Hallpike

59:50 How to perform the Epley maneuver

64:17 What happens when you choose the wrong test

66:10 Continuous versus triggered dizziness, or vertigo

67:40 Meclizine use in BPPV

69:25 How to cure horizontal canal BPPV

71:00 Treatment for vestibular neuritis

72:56 Treatment for Meniere’s disease

74:32 Who benefits from vestibular rehab/exercises

77:23 Dizziness and giddiness

78:15 Take home points

81:06 Outro

Tags: vertigo, dizziness, presyncope, ataxia, stroke, BPPV, Meniere’s, disease, neuritis, vestibular, syndrome, episodic, meclizine, migraine, gait, assistant, care, education, doctor, family, foam, foamed, health, hospitalist, hospital, internal, internist, nurse, medicine, medical, primary, physician, resident, student

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