Objectives: Cochlear implantation (CI) has been the most successful procedure for restoring hearing in a patient with severe and profound hearing loss. However, possibly owing to the variable brain functions of each patient, its performance and the associated patient satisfaction are widely variable. The authors hypothesize that peripheral and cerebral circulation can be assessed by noninvasive and globally available methods, yielding superior presurgical predictive factors of the performance of CI in adult patients with postlingual hearing loss who are scheduled to undergo CI.
Design: Twenty-two adult patients with cochlear implants for postlingual hearing loss were evaluated using Doppler sonography measurement of the cervical arteries (reflecting cerebral blood flow), flow-mediated dilation (FMD; reflecting the condition of cerebral arteries), and their pre-/post-CI best score on a monosyllabic discrimination test (pre-/post-CI best monosyllabic discrimination [BMD] score). Correlations between post-CI BMD score and the other factors were examined using univariate analysis and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis. The prediction factors were calculated by examining the receiver-operating characteristic curve between post-CI BMD score and the significantly positively correlated factors.
Results: Age and duration of deafness had a moderately negative correlation. The mean velocity of the internal carotid arteries and FMD had a moderate-to-strong positive correlation with the post-CI BMD score in univariate analysis. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis revealed that only FMD was significantly positively correlated with post-CI BMD score. Analysis of the receiver-operating characteristic curve showed that a FMD cutoff score of 1.8 significantly predicted post-CI BMD score.
Conclusions: These data suggest that FMD is a convenient, noninvasive, and widely available tool for predicting the efficacy of cochlear implants. An FMD cutoff score of 1.8 could be a good index for determining whether patients will hear well with cochlear implants. It could also be used to predict whether cochlear implants will provide good speech recognition benefits to candidates, even if their speech discrimination is poor. This FMD index could become a useful predictive tool for candidates with poor speech discrimination to determine the efficacy of CI before surgery.