TUMARKIN'S OTOLITHIC CRISIS
Sudden, spontaneous fall to the ground without prior warning experienced by some people with Meniere's disease and non-Meniere's endolymphatic hydrops. It occurs without warning, vertigo, nausea or vomiting, sweating, disequilibrium, loss of consciousness, numbness or paralysis. Some people have described the feeling of being pushed to the ground during one of these episodes otherwise there is no sensation. Unless injury occurs from the fall the individual is able to resume their previous activity. (Falling while trying to move about during an attack of Meniere's is not Tumarkin's Otolithic Crisis)
This event is thought to be caused by an undefined, sudden change of the otolithic organs, the two organs in each ear responsible for sensing gravity.
If you think you are experiencing this call your doctor and inform him/her of this change in your condition. Do not swim, drive, climb a ladder or do any other potentially dangerous activity until you speak with them.
Available literature on this topic includes:
Baloh, RW, Jacobson, K & Winder, T 1990 Drop attacks with Meniere's syndrome. Annals of Neurology, 28(3):384-387.
Black, FO, Effron, MZ & Burns, DS 1982 Diagnosis and management of drop attacks of vestibular origin: Tumarkin's Otolithic Crisis. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 90:256-262.
Janzen, VD & Russell, RD 1988. Conservative management of Tumarkin's otolithic crisis. Journal of Otolaryngology, 17(7):359-361
Odkvist, LM & Bergenius, J. 1988. Drop attacks in Meniere's disease. Acta Otolaryngologica Supplement, 455:82-85.
Pillsbury, HC & Potsma, DS 1983. Lermoyez's syndrome and the otolithic crisis of Tumarkin. Otolaryngological Clinics of North America, 90(2):256-262.
Tumarkin, A. 1936. The otolithic catastrophe: A new syndrome. British Medical Journal, 1:175-177.
Written 4/26/98 PJH