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Vertigo during sleep?
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Vertigo during sleep?

I have an 11.9 year old son with mild cerebral palsy/microcephaly.  Last year he was dx with benign paroxysmal vertigo.  He had been having strange episodes and we were concerned about possible seizures.  No history of such until the last year.   The episodes occur infrequently, average 2/month.  Sometimes in a 2-week period, he'll have 2-3, and then a longer time period without any.  He has some sensory issues - for example, he is very uncomfortable underneath a wide-open sky, or entering large buildings with high ceilings.

In the past three months, my son has had 2 disturbing episodes in his sleep.  The first occurred at around 2 a.m.  The 2nd occurred today at 6:30 am.  We are jolted awake by him screaming like we've never heard before, by the time we arrive to his room, he is sitting up in bed shaking violently, heart pounding, hand over his mouth (nausea).  I hold him tightly and it passes within 3-4 minutes.  He does not scream or shake like this during a typical vertigo episode (in the daytime).  Because of his speech deficit, it's hard to know exactly what's going on when this happens.  He said this morning that he did not have a bad dream, that he was dizzy.

I have read that vertigo can sometimes wake someone from sleep.  I assume that's what is going on.  What causes vertigo when sleeping?  Will he outgrow this?  Is there anything we can do to eliminate this problem.  It is quite disturbing for him, and for us as well.  We received this dx last year, and am not sure what to do with it.

Thank You,
CyndiK
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Benign paroxysmal vertigo (BPV) is a disorder of the inner ear. The balance system is made up of 3 canals and a central region connecting all of the canals. Within these canals is fluid, and there are little (for lack of a better term) stones. BPV occurs when one of these stones moves to the incorrect location and creates the sensation of movement. Therefore, changes in head position can bring on symptoms, regardless of body position. I am not sure how this diagnosis was made, or how seizures where ruled out, but an evaluation with an Otoneurologist (Dr. specializing in dizzy patients) may be helpful. We have two outstanding doctors here at the Cleveland Clinic (Drs. Oas and Cherian). If your son does have BPV there are maneuvers which can be performed to try and minimize the symptoms. Good luck.
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Thank you.  We ruled out seizures with MRI/EEG.  Thank you for your explanation.  We will be contacting the doctors you recommended as we are in the area.
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