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vertigo(vûr`tĭgō), sensations of moving in space or of objects moving about a person and the resultant difficulty in maintaining equilibrium. True vertigo, as distinguished from faintness, lightheadedness, and other forms of dizziness, occurs as a result of a disturbance of some part of the body's balancing mechanism, located in the inner ear (e.g., vestibule, semicircular canals, auditory nerves). Labyrinthitis, or infection and irritation of the middle and inner ear, is a common cause of vertigo. Elimination of infectious, toxic, or environmental factors underlying the disturbance is essential for permanent relief.
a sensation of disturbance of body balance and seeming rotation of surrounding objects. In the ontogeny of a human being a certain definite conception of the individual’s interrelationship with surrounding objects (space) is formed; the principal role in this is played by the information that enters the central nervous system from the vestibular apparatus, the organs of sight, and nerve endings that receive deep and cutaneous responses. When there is a disturbance in the transmission or perception of this information, vertigo occurs. Vertigo may sometimes arise in healthy persons, for example when there is extreme or prolonged stimulation of the vestibular apparatus (movement with considerable linear or angular acceleration, swinging, etc.), as a result of intensive rhythmic stimulation of the receptors of the eyeballs (prolonged fixation of the gaze on a moving object), or with absence in surrounding space of accustomed points that determine space orientation (at high altitudes).
Vertigo often arises in certain diseased conditions, such as diseases of the vestibular analysor (labyrinth, audio-vestibular nerve, vestibular nuclei of the brain stem, supranuclear structures, cortex, and, above all, areas of the temporal-parietooccipital junction) and of the visual and oculomotor apparatus, as well as in pathology of the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, and other organs. The causes of affection of the vestibular analysor may be inflammatory or noninflammatory diseases of the labyrinth; otosclerosis; Ménière’s disease; infectious, toxic, or traumatic influences on the audio-vestibular nerve; disturbances in circulation of cerebrospinal fluid; vascular, inflammatory, toxic, oncological, and parasitic brain diseases; and, more rarely, functional diseases of the nervous system. Vertigo is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, slow pulse, pallor, change in arterial pressure, and the appearance of nystagmus. Treatment consists of removal of the causes; acetyl-cholinolytic preparations, vitamin B6, and therapeutic exercises are prescribed.
REFERENCESMin’kovskii, A. Kh. “Golovokruzhenie.” In Problemy labirintologii. Cheliabinsk, 1966.
Khechinashvili, S. N. “Golovokruzhenie.” Klinicheskaia meditsina, 1964, vol. 42, no. 9.
Piquet, J., and J. J. Piquet. Les Vertiges. Paris, 1965.
V. A. KARLOV