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Case Reports
, 26 (6), 1324-7

Otologic Manifestations of Petrous Carotid Aneurysms

  • PMID: 15956490
Case Reports

Otologic Manifestations of Petrous Carotid Aneurysms

Gul Moonis et al. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol.


Background and purpose: The petrous and cavernous segments of the extradural internal carotid artery take a complex course through the skull base before entering the subarachnoid space distal to the cavernous sinus. Despite the protection from trauma afforded by the anatomy, the petrous and carotid internal carotid artery (ICA) segments of the vessel remains subject to disease, the most important of which are aneurysms. Aneurysms affecting the petrous portion of the vessel are extremely uncommon, and presentation with otologic symptoms is unusual. These symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus, and life threatening hemorrhage. This article emphasizes the need for a high level of suspicion for aneurysm as a potential cause for otologic symptoms. We report and discuss three cases of petrous carotid aneurysms with otologic manifestations to increase the awareness and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of this uncommon disorder.

Methods: The medical records and imaging studies of three patients presenting to our institution with aneurysms involving the petrous internal carotid artery were reviewed. One presented with progressive bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The next patient presented with pulsatile tinnitus. The last patient presented to the emergency room unresponsive with severe epistaxis.

Results: All three patients had imaging studies revealing petrous carotid aneurysms. Each patient had symptoms related to the aneurysms ranging from hearing loss, tinnitus, and life-threatening hemorrhage.

Conclusion: Petrous carotid aneurysms are rare, and presentation with otologic symptoms is unusual. Awareness of these lesions as a cause of otologic symptoms, however, is highly important. These cases also illustrate the usefulness of endovascular treatments for aneurysms of the petrous portion of the internal carotid artery, which are extremely difficult to treat by using an open surgical approach.

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