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Original Article
November 2005

Vertigo and Imbalance in Children: A Retrospective Study in a Helsinki University Otorhinolaryngology Clinic

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki (Drs Riina and Kentala), and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere (Dr Ilmari), Finland.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131(11):996-1000. doi:10.1001/archotol.131.11.996

Objective  To determine medical characteristics of children with vertigo who visited an otorhinolaryngology (ENT) clinic during a 5-year period.

Design  A retrospective chart review carried out between 2000 and 2004.

Setting  Helsinki University Central Hospital tertiary referral center ENT clinic.

Subjects  A total of 119 children (63 girls and 56 boys), ranging in age from 7 months to 17 years (mean age, 10.9 years at examination).

Main Outcome Measures  Patients were identified from the ENT clinic database based on hospital discharge codes, with data stored in the database and the SPSS program applied for statistical analysis.

Results  Only 0.7% of children visiting the hospital during the 5-year period had vertigo. Benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, migraine-associated dizziness, vestibular neuronitis, and otitis media–related dizziness accounted for vertigo in most of the children.

Conclusions  Vertigo is a rare primary complaint of children in an ENT clinic. In achieving a diagnosis, the most valuable tools are medical history, an otoneurologic examination, electronystagmography, and audiography.