Microdissection and scanning electron microscopy were used to study temporal bone specimens from a newborn infant with Potter's syndrome. The 34-year-old mother of the infant had juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis and she took prostaglandin inhibitors (aspirin, indomethacin, and Clinoril) during pregnancy. Autopsy findings included bilateral renal dysgenesis, pulmonary hypoplasia, abnormal facies with low-set ears, and bilateral cataracts.
The infant's left external ear canal was stenotic and the left tympanic anulus was narrowed. Otherwise, both middle ears, as well as the sensory structures of the cochleae and semicircular canals, were normal. The saccular and utricular muculae on the right were entirely devoid of otoconia, although they were covered by gelatinous otoconial membranes which appeared normal. On the left, the maculae were covered by thin layers of flat, lenticular crystals 2 to 10 μ in diameter. X-ray powder diffraction analysis showed these aberrant otoconia to be composed of calcium carbonate in the form of vaterite. No abnormalities of the neuroepithelia or macular nerve supply were found in either ear.
© 1981, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.