Could Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo Be Related to Migraine?

Woman with migraine
Woman with migraine
Presenting at the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting, researchers described the characteristics of patients diagnosed with migraine and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting.


Among patients with vestibular disorders, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) was the most common diagnosis, with more than 10% of patients having comorbid migraine, according to study findings presented at the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, held from April 2 to April 7 in Seattle, Washington, and virtually from April 24-26, 2022.

In the general population, migraine and vertigo are common complaints. Among adults, BBPV is the most common cause of vertigo. A cohort study was conducted in South Korea, which reported that the incidence of BBPV was higher among individuals with migraine compared with those without migraine (6% vs 2.3%, respectively). In a Taiwan-based study, patients with migraine had a 2.03-fold increased risk for BPPV compared with those without migraine. Further, the prevalence of migraine in a BBPV-positive study population at a large US neurology clinic was 25.8%.

The objective of the current study was to describe the characteristics of patients diagnosed with migraine and BBPV at the University of Washington Medical System via use of the Leaf research database.

The researchers collected retrospective data for all patients with OCD-10 code diagnoses for migraine, disorders of vestibular function, and BBPV. Patient demographics were analyzed as well.

According to the study findings, the total number of patients with migraine and vestibular dysfunction was 36,498 and 9639, respectively. Overall, 61% (5890 of 9639) of patients with disorders of vestibular function had a diagnosis of BPPV, and 12.2% (718 of 5890) of those with BPPV were also diagnosed with migraine. These 718 individuals represented only 1.96% of patients with migraine. In this group, 74.1% of the patients were younger than 65 years of age, 85.2% were female, and 11.6% reported that an Asian language was their native tongue.

The researchers concluded that although BPPV was diagnosed in only approximately 1% of patients with migraine in the current study, “it should be considered in the differential diagnosis for vertigo, particularly in female patients under 65 [years of age], especially since BPPV is easily diagnosed and treated.

Disclosure: None of the study authors has declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies.  


Goh S, Murinova N, Cuneo A, Krashin D. Migraine and association of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: a large tertiary university medical center review. Presented at: the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting; April 2-7, 2022; Seattle, Washington; April 24-26, 2022; Virtual Meeting. Abstract P16.003.