E-Pearl of the Week: 'Tumarkin attacks'-the otolithic catastrophe

November 14, 2012


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November 13, 2012

'Tumarkin attacks'–the otolithic catastrophe

Tumarkin attacks or crises refer to sudden ‘drop attacks’ in the context of Meniere’s disease.  During attacks, the patient falls to the ground in the absence of vertigo, loss of consciousness or malaise1.  The attacks occur most frequently in the elderly. In Tumarkin’s original monograph on the syndrome he postulated that the attacks were due to otolithic dysfunction in the vestibular apparatus1.


  1. Tumarkin, A. The otolithic catastrophe. A new syndrome. British Medical Journal 1936; 1: 175–177.

Submitted by John McKinley MB, MRCP Fellow in Movement Disorders, Dublin Neurological Institute, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. Eccles St, Dublin 7.

Disclosure: Dr. McKinley reports no disclosures.

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