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Margaret Mead
Case Report

About Nystagmus Transformation in a Case of Apogeotropic Lateral Semicircular Canal Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo


There are two forms of lateral semicircular canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: geotropic and apogeotropic. When the pathophysiological mechanism of the apogeotropic form is that of canalolithiasis, we can observe a transformation from an apogeotropic nystagmus into a geotropic one. Usually, this phenomenon happens simultaneously on both sides, thus enabling us to observe a right-beating paroxysmal positional nystagmus when the patient lies on the right side and a left-beating paroxysmal positional nystagmus on the left side. We describe a case in which the transformation occurred gradually, so that, after three head rotations from side to side in supine position, there was a right nystagmus beating toward the ground (geotropic) with the patient on the right side and a right nystagmus beating away from the ground (apogeotropic) on the left side. However, after further rotations we observed the nystagmus transformation also on the left side, with a geotropic nystagmus on both sides. The phenomenon of gradual transformation could happen because initially only a part of the debris moved from the anterior to the posterior aspect of the canal during head rotations.