Treatment of Mal de Debarquement syndrome in a deployed environment

Stephanie M. Schenk, Jacklyn M. Wagner, Jarrod A. Miller, Tracey M. Lyons-White, Emilee C. Venn, Michael D. April, Brit Long, Steven G. Schauer, Joshua J. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report the case of a 26-year-old Caucasian female with persistent sensations of forward and reverse movement with spontaneous onset. This worsened over 4 wk. The patient reported an episode of these symptoms 5 mo prior, which lasted for 3 mo before improving. Our case details the treatment of Mal de Debarquement syndrome, or Disembarkment Syndrome, in a deployed military environment. Mal de Debarquement was a term originally coined to describe the persistent sensation of rocking back and forth after disembarking a boat and returning to land. This is normal, and usually only lasts for minutes to hours. When it persists, it is called Mal de Debarquement Syndrome. The onset frequently coincides with travel and most commonly by boat, however it can also occur spontaneously as in this case. Currently, there are three different treatment options. The first involves medications that are often sedating. The second uses magnetic resonance imaging at high frequency to stimulate the areas of the brain thought to be involved. The third option is a form of physical therapy termed re-adaptation of the vestibular ocular reflex. As we were in a deployed military environment the first two options were unsafe and unavailable respectively. We employed an improvised version of re-adaptation of the vestibular ocular reflex. The patient demonstrated a 50% reduction in symptoms following 1 wk of treatment and as a result was safely able to complete her deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberusy108
Pages (from-to)E775-E778
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume183
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Schenk, S. M., Wagner, J. M., Miller, J. A., Lyons-White, T. M., Venn, E. C., April, M. D., Long, B., Schauer, S. G., & Oliver, J. J. (2018). Treatment of Mal de Debarquement syndrome in a deployed environment. Military medicine, 183(11-12), E775-E778. [usy108]. https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usy108