Open Access

Vestibular disorders in migrainous children and adolescents

  • Ágnes Szirmai and
  • Viktor Farkas
The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches1:00010039.10194


Recurrent vertigo is a special form of migraine in childhood. It is a periodic syndrome of childhood which was previously called migraine equivalent. Thirty young patients (less than 18 years of age) with migraine and vertigo were examined by the authors. The vestibular system of the patients was examined by computer-based electronystagmography. All patients had migraine-related vestibular dysfunction. Most had spontaneous nystagmus and 86.7% had an abnormal bithermal caloric test. Other forms of migraine-associated periodic syndromes – especially abdominal pain – were found in about 25% of the patients. Approximately one-third of the patients had a family history of migraine, and about half of them had motion sickness. The cause of migraine and migraine-related vestibular disorders is still unidentified, but the origin of the attacks is believed to be located in the brainstem, especially in the pons. This fact is congruent with our results indicating that a central vestibular dysfunction can be found in patients with migraine.

Key words ChildhoodHeadachechildhood periodic syndromesVertigoVestibular dysfunction