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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2014 Apr;34(2):123-8.

Vestibular assessment in patients with vestibular schwannomas: what really matters?

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Department of ENT, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.
Department of Neurosurgery and Radiosurgery, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


in English, Italian

Vestibular function is often underdiagnosed in vestibular schwannomas (VS). To evaluate it in a selected group of patients harbouring vestibular schwannomas, 64 patients were included in this study, recruited between March 2008 and June 2011 at our institution. All patients underwent Gd-enhanced MRI and complete neurotological evaluation before gamma knife surgery. Morphological measurements included Koos Classification and quantification of internal acoustic canal filling in length and diameter. Cochlear and vestibular functions were assessed considering pure tone and speech audiometry, bedside examination and caloric test by videonystagmography. A statistical analysis was performed to find possible correlations between morphological and cochleovestibular data. Patients with a higher intracanalicular length (ICL, mean value 8.59 and median 8.8 mm) of the tumour presented a higher value of UW than the subgroup with a lower length (51.9 ± 24.3% and 38.8 ± 18.1% respectively, p = 0.04), while no difference was detected for pure tone audiometry (PTA) values (50.9 ± 22.3 db and 51.1 ± 28.9 db respectively). Patients with a higher ICL also presented a higher rate of positive HIT (88% and 60% respectively, p = 0.006). Patients with a higher value of intracanalicular diameter (ICD, mean value 5.22 and median 5.15 mm) demonstrated higher values of UW (50.2 ± 29.1% and 39.3 ± 21% respectively, p = 0.03), but not different PTA (50.2 ± 29.1 db and 51.9 ± 29.9 db respectively). Finally, patients with a positive head impulse test (HIT) demonstrated significantly higher values of unilateral weakness (UW) (p = 0.001). Vestibular disorders are probably underdiagnosed in patients with VS. ICL and ICD seem to be the main parameters that correlate with vestibular function. Also, in case of small intracanalar T1 VS a slight increase of these variables can result in significant vestibular impairment. The data reported in the present study are not inconsistent with the possibility of proactive treatment of patients with VS.


Gamma-Knife; Hearing loss; Radiosurgery; Vestibular Schwannomas; Vestibular tests

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