Clinical Short Communication| Volume 378, P55-58, July 15, 2017

Acute unilateral peripheral vestibulopathy in neurosyphilis

Published:April 23, 2017DOI:


      • Neurosyphilitic basal meningitis causes acute unilateral peripheral vestibulopathy with involvement of adjacent cranial nerves.
      • The mechanism of neurosyphilis is basal meningitis.
      • Neurosyphilis can occur early in the secondary phase or later in the latent phase.



      Neurosyphilis producing basal meningitis presenting as sequential transient cranial nerve palsies was well recognized before the antibiotic era.


      To report two patients presenting with acute unilateral peripheral vestibulopathy due to syphilitic basal meningitis.


      In Case 1 basal meningitis occurred early in the secondary phase of the infection, in Case 2 in the late latent phase. The diagnosis was not made immediately in either case; in Case 1 after previous presentation with increasing hearing loss and then with facial palsy and then a subsequent presentation with optic neuritis; in Case 2 after investigation for possible lymphoma.


      Syphilitic basal meningitis in either the secondary or in the latent phase can present as acute unilateral peripheral vestibulopathy with transient involvement of the facial or auditory nerve.


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