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Posterior semicircular canal cupulolithiasis during acute pontomedullary demyelination


Positional vertigo poses a diagnostic challenge in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The characteristics of positional nystagmus and its response to repositioning manoeuvres are usually sufficient to diagnose benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). However, certain BPPV variants respond poorly to repositioning manoeuvres and their nystagmus pattern can resemble that of central positional vertigo caused by infratentorial demyelination. This diagnostic difficulty is particularly challenging if positional vertigo occurs during an MS relapse. We describe a woman with MS who developed a sixth nerve palsy and gaze-evoked nystagmus, caused by demyelination near or within areas classically involved in central positional vertigo. However, she also had positional vertigo from coincident BPPV (and not central positional vertigo). This was initially a treatment resistant-posterior semicircular canal cupulolithiasis but it later progressed to a posterior semicircular canal canalolithiasis, with symptoms promptly resolving after a repositioning manoeuvre.


Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Not applicable.

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