Pyykkö, I., Manchaiah, V., Zou, J., Levo, H. & Kentala, E.
The Journal of International Advanced Otology, 15(1), 135-140. DOI: 10.5152/iao.2019.6094
Publication year: 2019


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the current study was to further collect evidence that would confirm the hypothesis that vestibular drop attacks (VDAs) could cause syncope in patients with Ménière’s disease (MD).

MATERIALS and METHODS: A cross-sectional survey design was employed in the present study. An Internet-based survey was administered on 602 individuals with MD. The mean age of the participants was 56.7 (25-75) years, and the mean duration of the disease was 12.4 (0.5-35) years.

RESULTS: VDAs with varying severity were present among 307 (50.7%) patients and led to fall in 92 patients, and syncope occurred in 45 patients with VDA. The overall percentage of syncope due to MD was 4.7%. Factors, such as duration of disease, age, and gender of the patient, did not explain attacks of syncope. Migraine and headache were not associated with syncope. Syncope was witnessed in 23 and self-reported by 22 patients. Syncope was associated with frequent VDA, duration of VDA, and falls that occurred during VDA. Patients with syncope reported the experience as frightening, had reduced general health-related quality of life, had higher anxiousness scores, and suffered more from fatigue. They also experienced problems with work, employment, and social restrictions.

CONCLUSION: Approximately 5% of patients with MD suffer from syncope, and syncope occurs among patients with VDA. In vestibular syncope, the sympathetic tone is lost, and baroreflex feedback is inhibited leading to fall and syncope. The consequences of vestibular syncope are severe, and patients face injuries and a significantly reduced quality of life.