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Lupus. 2013 Apr;22(5):437-42. doi: 10.1177/0961203313477223. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Hearing and vestibular disorders in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, IBSAL, Hospital Universitario Salamanca, Spain.



Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with several comorbidities, including hearing and vestibular disorders. We recently described an increase of SLE prevalence in patients with Menierés disease (MD). The aim of this study is to explore if a subset of SLE patients may have a common inner ear disorder and determine the potential relationship with migraine. METHODS; Eighty-nine patients with SLE (according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of SLE) were evaluated for audiovestibular symptoms by a telephone interview carried out by two experienced otoneurologists. Twenty-one patients with SLE were referred to the otoneurology clinic for a detailed clinical history for criteria assessment for MD and a complete audiovestibular examination (audiogram, oculomotor, and caloric testing with video-oculography).


Recurrent headache was found in 50/89 patients, and 26 of them had diagnostic criteria for migraine. Twenty-four percent of patients reported sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) or episodic vertigo. Among the eight patients (9%) with episodic vertigo, one had criteria for definite MD and another two patients had criteria for possible MD. SNHL was found to be associated with a history of episodic vertigo (Fisher's test, p=0.02), but not with headache or migraine. SLE and episodic vertigo were not associated with tinnitus, migraine, lupus nephritis, antinuclear antibodies or antiphospholipid syndrome.


Migraine, SNHL and episodic vertigo are comorbid conditions in patients with SLE, but migraine is not associated with SNHL or vertigo in these patients. However, SNHL and vertigo are associated conditions in SLE, suggesting a common audiovestibular dysfunction.

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