Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo as a complication of 90-day head-down bed rest



This study aimed to report the occurrence of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) in a 90-day head-down bed rest experiment and evaluate the potential relationship between BPPV-related seizures and bone metabolic changes.

Methods and design

Five cases of lateral semicircular canal (LSC) BPPV were diagnosed during a 90-day head-down bed rest experiment. Five age-matched subjects who participated in this experiment and never felt dizziness or vertigo were assigned as controls. The differences between the BPPV and the controls in lumbar bone mineral density, 25-hydroxyvitamin D level, corrected serum calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, uric acid and N-terminal osteocalcin were analyzed to determine the cause of LSC-BPPV.


BPPV occurred from Day 17 to Day 42 during head-down bed rest. The occurrences of BPPV were related to low 25-hydroxyvitamin D level (BPPV:20.70 ± 1.95 ng/L vs. control: 30.59 ± 2.75 ng/L at Day 30 during HDBR, p < 0.05). The relatively longer duration in the prone posture at 6° head down in this experiment may have a potential role in the involvement of the LSC. The maneuver used in the experiment effectively alleviated the acute symptoms of LSC-BPPV.


The cases of LSC-BPPV in the early period of 90-day of head-down bed rest were related to the low 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and the 6° head-down posture. These results suggest that the potential role of unloading-induced bone loss on BPPV-related seizures deserves attention in future studies of long-term bed rest.

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This work was fully funded by China Manned Space Advanced Research Project (HY-5) and Key Project of State Key laboratory of Space Medicine Fundamentals and Application (SYFD180011801). We thank the American Journal Experts for editing our manuscript.

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Correspondence to Linjie Wang.

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Wang, L., Liu, J., Fan, Q. et al. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo as a complication of 90-day head-down bed rest. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2020).

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  • Head-down bed rest
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Lateral semicircular canal
  • Bone loss
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D