Vaterite otoconia in two cases of otoconial membrane dysplasia

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. Mar-Apr 1982;91(2 Pt 1):193-9. doi: 10.1177/000348948209100215.


Scanning electron microscopy, electron microprobe analysis, and x-ray powder diffraction were used to study temporal bone specimens obtained at autopsy from an infant with Potter syndrome and from a second trimester fetus, which was the product of an elective abortion. The mothers of both the infant and fetus were juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis patients who took prostaglandin inhibitors during pregnancy. The infant's external ears were low set and the left ear canal was stenotic. The vestibular maculae on the left were covered by aberrant otoconia composed of vaterite. In the right inner ear, otoconia were entirely absent, although the gelatinous otoconial membranes were intact. Only the left saccule and right utricle from the fetus were studied; both contained vaterite crystals similar to those in the infant. In addition, apatite was present in the fetal utricle, apparently lying on the macula beneath the vaterite otoconia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Acoustic Maculae / abnormalities*
  • Acoustic Maculae / ultrastructure
  • Adult
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Calcium Carbonate*
  • Crystallization
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Ear, Inner / abnormalities*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prednisone / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Syndrome


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Aspirin
  • Prednisone