[L. vertigo, a turning round]
The sensation of moving around in space (subjective vertigo) or of having objects move about the person (objective vertigo). Vertigo is sometimes inaccurately used as a synonym for dizziness, lightheadedness, or giddiness. It may be caused by a variety of entities, including middle ear disease; toxic conditions such as those caused by salicylates, alcohol, or streptomycin; sunstroke; postural hypotension; or toxemia due to food poisoning or infectious diseases.
SEE: vection (2)
Assessment should include whether the patient experiences a sense of turning or whirling and its direction; whether it is intermittent and the time of day it occurs; whether it is associated with drugs, turning over in bed, occupation, or menses; whether it is associated with nausea and vomiting or with nystagmus and migraine. Safety measures, such as the use of siderails in bed, are instituted. The patient should ambulate gradually after a slow, assisted move from a sitting position. The call bell should be available at all times; tissues, water, and other supplies should be within easy reach; and furniture and other obstacles should be removed from the path of ambulation. The patient who has undergone ear surgery and experiences severe vertigo should be confined to bed for several days and then begin to gradually increase activity.
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