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Atherosclerosis. 2012 Dec;225(2):511-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.10.024. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Endothelial function and cardiovascular risk in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

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Section of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.



To evaluate cardiovascular risk factors and pre-clinical atherosclerosis in subjects affected by idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL).


In this study, 29 ISSHL patients and 29 healthy controls were evaluated. All of the patients underwent a complete audiovestibular and clinical evaluation. Carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT) and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery were assessed as early markers of atherosclerosis.


Our results showed that FMD was significantly lower in the ISSHL patients than in the controls (5.6 ± 1.6% vs. 7.7 ± 3.7%, p < 0.01). Moreover, the total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly higher in the ISSHL patients than in the controls (p < 0.05). The two groups did not differ with regards to C-IMT and other cardiovascular risk factors. Vestibular involvement was shown to be associated with lower FMD values (4.1 ± 1.7% vs. 5.8 ± 1.5%, p < 0.05). No relationship was found between C-IMT and vestibular involvement. Finally, multiple logistic regression highlighted the finding that only FMD values seemed to predispose individuals to developing ISSHL (p = 0.03, OR: 1.4).


ISSHL seemed to be associated with vascular endothelial dysfunction and an increased cardiovascular risk, which supports the hypothesis of a vascular aetiology for this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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