Show Summary Details
Page of

Fits, Faints, Funny Turns, and Falls in the Differential Diagnosis of the Dizzy Patient 

Fits, Faints, Funny Turns, and Falls in the Differential Diagnosis of the Dizzy Patient
Chapter:
Fits, Faints, Funny Turns, and Falls in the Differential Diagnosis of the Dizzy Patient
Author(s):

Alexander A. Tarnutzer

and David E. Newman-Toker

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199608997.003.0029
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 July 2021

Sudden unexplained falls may provide a diagnostic challenge to the physician as a broad differential diagnosis needs to be considered while confronted with an incomplete and potentially inaccurate history provided by the patient and eyewitnesses. Falls may go along with transient loss of consciousness (TLOC) and may be preceded by vertigo / dizziness (“funny turns”), which, however, may present in isolation also. The diagnostic approach should focus on the most frequent (reflex syncope (‘faints’), psychogenic syncope / seizure and epileptic seizures (“fits”)) and the most dangerous (cardiogenic syncope, symptomatic seizures, vertebrobasilar TIA) causes of TLOC and falls. Mimics of seizure include reflex syncope, autonomic failure and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures and their identification is important for a targeted treatment. The duration, onset and frequency of transient dizziness /vertigo needs to be carefully evaluated and potential triggers desire special attention to narrow the differential diagnosis of dizziness /vertigo. Diagnostic testing should be ordered based on the clinical findings only. While prognosis is usually excellent for certain differential diagnoses (e.g. reflex syncope), one-year mortality may reach values of up to 30% in others (e.g. cardiac syncope), underling the importance to distinguish between different conditions.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.