Objective: To evaluate cardiovascular risk factors and pre-clinical atherosclerosis in subjects affected by idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL).
Methods: 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.
Results: 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).
Conclusions: 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.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.