Successful cochlear implantation in a patient with MELAS syndrome

Am J Otol. 1999 Mar;20(2):187-90; discussion 190-1.


Objective: To describe methods of assessing cochlear implant candidacy in patients with potentially significant peripheral and central nervous system (CNS) degeneration.

Study design: A patient with a degenerative CNS disease (MELAS syndrome) undergoing evaluation for cochlear implantation is described.

Setting: This study took place at a tertiary care center.

Patient: A patient with mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) who had cortical blindness and profound sensorineural hearing loss was evaluated and rehabilitated with cochlear implantation.

Interventions: Pure-tone audiogram, behavioral responses to promontory stimulation electrical auditory brainstem response, and electrically evoked middle-latency responses (MLRs) were used to assess eighth nerve, auditory brainstem, and cortical auditory pathways. Cochlear implantation with Cochlear Corporation mini 22 implant was performed.

Results: Repeatable electrically evoked MLRs and behavioral responses to promontory stimulation documented the presence of auditory cortical responses. Successful implantation resulted in open set speech recognition and communication using the auditory/oral mode.

Conclusion: This report describes successful implantation in a patient with MELAS syndrome and demonstrates the ability to preoperatively confirm the integrity of brainstem and cortical auditory pathways despite significant CNS degeneration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Cochlear Implantation*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / surgery*
  • Humans
  • MELAS Syndrome / complications*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology
  • Postoperative Care
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / physiology