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Dizziness, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Patients’ descriptions of symptom quality (vertigo, lightheadedness, disequilibrium, or “other”) are frequently misleading and should not be the basis of clinical decision making.

  • An ...


Signs and Symptoms


Define the timing and triggers category and determine if the ROS suggests a particular serious diagnosis: 
  • Is the dizziness abrupt or gradual in onset?

  • Is the dizzines...


Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Abnormal vital signs clinically managed

  • Stabilization should be determined by more specific classification of dizziness based on the history, physical exam, and a...



Admission Criteria

Admission or discharge of patients with dizziness should be based on the underlying etiology or associated symptoms. 

Discharge Criteria

  • Admission or discharge of ...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Use the “timing and triggers” technique to diagnose dizzy patients.

  • Advanced age and traditional stroke risk factors increase the likelihood of acute stroke as cause of dizziness.

  • No...

Additional Reading

  • Edlow  JA, Newman-Toker  DE, Savitz  SI. Diagnosis and initial management of cerebellar infarction. Lancet Neurol.  2008;7:951–964.

  • Hwang  DY, Silva  GS, Furie  KL, et al. Compa...



  • 386.11 Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

  • 386.30 Labyrinthitis, unspecified

  • 780.4 Dizziness and giddiness

  • 386.12 Vestibular neuronitis


  • H81.10 Benign paroxysmal vertigo, unspecified ear

  • H83...

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