Vestibular Ataxia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Vestibular Ataxia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Vestibular ataxia is a violation of coordination of movements and the ability to maintain a posture associated with the defeat of the vestibular apparatus at any level. Vestibular ataxia is manifested by shakiness in the standing and sitting position, as well as when walking. It is accompanied by systemic dizziness and nystagmus; nausea and vomiting, autonomic disturbances and symptoms characteristic of the pathological process that caused the development of vestibular ataxia can be observed. Diagnosis of the latter is the main goal of the examination of patients with vestibular ataxia. Treatment of vestibular ataxia is symptomatic. The main therapy should be directed towards a causal disease.

Causes of vestibular ataxia

Vestibular ataxia is associated with the defeat of any structure of the vestibular analyzer. Most often, it is caused by damage to the hair cells as a result of the inflammatory process in the inner ear labyrinthitis. In turn, labyrinthitis can occur as a result of ear trauma or in the course of infection from the middle ear cavity with acute otitis media, chronic purulent otitis media, complicated aerotitis. The death of hair cells, leading to the development of vestibular ataxia, can occur as a result of invasive growth of the ear tumor or toxic effects of the secretions of the ear’s cholesteatoma. Paroxysmal vestibular ataxia accompanies Meniere’s disease.

Diagnosis of vestibular ataxia

Vestibular ataxia can be detected by the patient’s characteristic complaints and during his neurological examination. To differentiate vestibular ataxia from ataxia of other species ( cerebellar, sensible, cortical), and also to establish the level and nature of the lesion of the vestibular analyzer, the neurologist needs the results of instrumental examination methods: REG, Echo-EG, EEG, CT and MRI of the brain, X-ray studies. Since vestibular ataxia as a syndrome occurs in many diseases of the central nervous system, the most important point in clinical neurology is to identify the cause of its development.

Treatment of vestibular ataxia

Therapy of vestibular ataxia is directed primarily at curing the disease that caused it. In the presence of an infectious affection, the ear is given antibiotic therapy, washing the middle ear, sanitizing surgery, labyrinthotomy and other measures aimed at eradicating the purulent focus. If vestibular ataxia is caused by vascular disorders, then drugs that improve the blood supply to the brain are used. In severe cases of craniovertebral anomalies, their surgical correction is performed. Appropriate therapy is necessary in the presence of voluminous formations, encephalitis, arachnoiditis.


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