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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 229-234

Alternobaric vertigo – An uncommon medical hazard

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Santosh Kumar Swain
Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, K8, Kalinga Nagar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751 003
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCSR.JCSR_37_20

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Alternobaric vertigo (AV) is a type of barotrauma of the middle ear which occurs if the asymmetric middle ear pressure in both sides. If pressure differential exceeds a threshold, asymmetric stimulation of the labyrinth will occur, leading to vertigo, called as AV. The classical presentations is transient vertigo which appear sudden onset during the time of diving or flying, typically when ascends or when a Valsalva manoeuvre is performed. Other symptoms associated with AV are nausea, vomiting, disorientation and generalised malaise. If the descent or ascent is reversed immediately, vertigo suddenly disappears or may cause sudden spatial disorientation which may lead to catastrophic outcome. AV is often overlooked but this mishap should not be ignored as it may lead to fatal accident. The patient should be properly counselled for aetiology and nature of AV and its potential risks including aspiration and death. This review article focuses on the prevalence, etiopathology, clinical presentations and current management of the AV amongst underwater divers and aviators. This article will surely increase awareness amongst the clinicians and people those are practicing underwater diving or in aviation and help them to resolve this problem to a great extent.

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