Prevalence of and Theoretical Explanation for Type 2 Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Kinga Harmat, László T Tamás, Michael C Schubert, Imre Gerlinger, Sámuel Komoly, Béla Büki

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A variant of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) involves the subjective report of vertigo without the coinciding nystagmus. This presentation includes truncal retropulsion when sitting up from the ipsilesional provocative test (ie, Dix-Hallpike), which we term type 2 BPPV. The primary objective of this study is to prospectively determine the prevalence and describe the clinical course of type 2 BPPV. We offer a theoretical explanation for the absence of nystagmus.

METHODS: Prospective, observational study carried out in 2 tertiary hospitals. One hundred eighty patients (134 women, 46 men) met the inclusion criteria and were included between January 10, 2018, and October 30, 2019. Efficacy of physical therapy maneuvers was determined at 1-week follow-up. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the planes of the semicircular canal cupula from histological preparations are offered as evidence for the theoretical explanation.

RESULTS: One-third of the patients met the criteria for type 2 BPPV; the remainder had typical posterior or horizontal semicircular canal involvement. Symptoms from type 2 BPPV were longer in duration yet responded favorably to physical therapy maneuvers. Upon repeat testing, 19 patients treated for posterior canalithiasis developed a slight, persistent positional downbeat nystagmus in the Dix-Hallpike position that we propose as evidence the otoconia entered the short arm of the posterior semicircular canal.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Our data and 3-dimensional rendering suggest the report of vertigo, yet absent nystagmus in type 2 BPPV is from otoconia aligning with the gravitoinertial vector during provocative testing that precludes cupular stimulation. Type 2 BPPV appears to be a common and treatable form of vertigo.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1 available at:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2022


  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic
  • Nystagmus, Physiologic
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semicircular Canals


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