Predictors of vertigo in the emergency department: The preved study

Vishal Mandge, Leonidas Palaiodimos, Qingying Lai, Christos A. Papanastasiou, Yanjun Wang, Daniel Santos, Luis Grau, Alimitha Kodali, Lenore Ocava, Andrew H. Gutwein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Acute vertigo (sense of motion) can be the sole manifestation of a posterior circulation stroke, and often gets missed in the emergency department (ED). The studies for evaluation of central vertigo have focused on physical exam findings, which require expertise and may not be suitable for rapid triage by a nurse in ED or by paramedics. Methods: This cross sectional study included retrospective chart review of patients 18 years of age and older who presented to the Adult ED with acute dizziness or vertigo during the calendar year 2017. All the patients with a diagnosis of central or peripheral vertigo were included in the final analysis. Sensitivity, specificity, Likelihood Ratio of positive result (LR (+)) and Likelihood Ratio of negative result (LR (-)) for central and peripheral vertigo were calculated for risk factors, symptoms and physical examination features. Chi-squared test and univariate logistic regression were used to evaluate statistical correlation and to calculate the prevalence odds ratio (POR). Results: Two hundred and forty nine out of 505 (49.3%) patients presenting with dizziness had vertigo. Of these, 14 had central vertigo and 163 had peripheral vertigo. Statistically significant variables were: constant symptoms of vertigo (p 0.000- POR 8.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.3-33.1), no change in symptoms with head movement (p 0.000- POR 10.2, 95% CI 3.0-35.4), dysmetria (p 0.000- POR 56.8, 95% CI 5.8-557.1), and unsteady gait (p 0.000- POR 13.3, 95% CI 3.3-54.3). The sensitivity and specificity to detect central vertigo were 100% and 66.4% respectively if the patient had either unsteady gait, constant symptoms, or no change in symptoms with head movement, [VAIN triad (Vertigo- Ataxia, Incessant, or Non-positional)]. Conclusions: We suggest that triage with VAIN triad can be used to design prospective studies to develop a triage algorithm for the detection of central vertigo in the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105043
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Emergency
  • Stroke
  • Triage
  • Vertigo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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