Vestibular Paroxysmia

About Vestibular Paroxysmia

It is a clinical syndrome caused by compression of the vestibular nerve. The main clinical highlight is short recurrent intervals of vertigo.

Causes of Vestibular Paroxysmia

Nerve compression or damage due to by

  • Blood vessels – microvascular compression (MVC)
  • Vestibular neuritisc
  • Atumour -such as an acoustic neuromac
  • Radiation -such as post gamma knife
  • Surgery on the 8th nerve.

Microvascular compression is one of the most common reasons for vestibular paroxysmia.


The patient may grieve the spells of vertigo or dizziness that can last for seconds to minutes and may occur several times per day.


The following tests are advised for evaluating the condition and its severity.

  • MRI with gadolinium enhancement – If available, 3D MRI with FT-FISS or CISS is preferable. Positive in 95% (Hufner et al., 2008)
  • VNG/ENG — positive in 66% according to Hufner et al. (2008)
  • EEG – to rule out seizures
  • Audiometry– positive in 50% (Hufner et al.)
  • Fasting blood glucose – to rule out fluctuating sugar level


Vascular compression of the cochleovestibular nerve causes vestibular paroxysmia. Treatment with carbamazepine or oxcarbazepine is usually effective. Response to these medicines also serves as a diagnostic tool. Vestibular suppressants are not effective in this condition.If the medical approach does not have the desired outcome surgery may be needed to do. Microvascular decompression of a vascular loop compressing the vestibular nerve may be done endoscopically with minimal morbidity in expert hands.