Acute vertigo (AV) is often a challenging condition. Because of its multiple causes, patients are frequently observed by neurologists and physicians from other areas of specialites, particularly Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT). We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of AV in patients observed by Neurology and other medical specialties.
Materials and Methods:
Retrospective cross-sectional study with the selection of all patients with AV observed by Neurology at the Emergency Department (ED) of a tertiary center in 2019, regarding demographic data, imaging studies, diagnosis by Neurology and ENT at the ED, and diagnosis after ED discharge by different medical specialties.
In all, 54 patients were selected, 28 (52%) of them were women. The mean age was 59.96±14.88 years; 48% had a history of AV and 89% underwent imaging studies (computed tomography scan and/or magnetic resonance imaging scan). The most frequent diagnosis established by Neurology was benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, followed by vestibular neuronitis; 28 patients were also observed by ENT with an overall concordance rate of diagnosis of 39%. After ED discharge, most patients were observed at the Balance Disorders Outpatient Clinic. Diagnosis by Neurology at the ED was not significantly different from observation by other medical specialties after ED discharge regarding the distinction between peripheral and central causes of AV (κ=0.840, 95% confidence interval: 0.740 to 0.941, P<0.005).
Neurologists can effectively differentiate central and peripheral causes of AV at the ED. Patients with AV should be primarily evaluated by Neurology at the ED, avoiding redundant observations and allowing faster patient management.