Early Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Patients with Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss in an Emergency Setting

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Objective: The role of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL) is controversial due to the inhomogeneity of clinical and MR protocols. The aim of this work is to relate early MR findings obtained immediately after the admission, with the clinical presentation, the audiological findings, and the outcomes of treatment. Study Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: Tertiary referral university center. Patients: Forty-seven patients (22 M, 25 F; age: 54.4 ± 17.5 yr) consecutively referred to the Department of Emergency for ISSHL. Interventions: All patients underwent the diagnostic and therapeutic work-up for ISSHL, and MR imaging within 72 hours from the admission, independently of the symptoms onset. All patients received the same treatment (systemic steroid therapy, intratympanic steroid injection, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy). Main Outcome Measure(s): MR patterns, clinical, and laboratory findings. Results: MR imaging was positive in 25 of 47 cases (53%), with a perfect agreement between clinical and MR examinations (Cohen K = 1) upon the affected ear. Three different radiological patterns were observed: labyrinthine haemorrhage (n = 5), acute inflammatory process (n = 14), isolated blood-labyrinth barrier breakdown (n = 6). By binary logistic regression, only vertigo was associated with a positive MR imaging [B = 2.8; p = 0.011; OR = 9.5 (95% CI: 2.2-40.8)] and the latter was the only variable associated with an unfavorable outcome [(B = 2.8; p = 0.02 OR = 12.8 (95% CI: 2.9-56.7)]. Conclusion: Patients affected by ISSHL with associated vertigo show a higher likelihood of having a positive MR imaging, which, in turn, seems to predict an unfavorable outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1147
Number of pages9
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Ear
  • Emergency
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Sudden hearing loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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