Fifty-eight cases with a presumptive clinical diagnosis of perilymphatic fistula (PLF) are described with the results of a positional audiometric test designed to detect the presence of air in the cochlea. All patients underwent tympanotomy and observations of the middle ear are recorded together with the results of treatment. A definite leak was found in 33 cases and none in 25, but grafting of the round and oval window was performed in all but 10 cases.
Pure-tone audiometry was performed before and after a 30-minute period of positioning the patient horizontally with the affected ear uppermost. A change in audiometric thresholds was noted in the group where a presumptive diagnosis of PLF was made, including some of those not found to have leaks at operation. However these changes were not observed in the positional tests of a group of 22 patients with hearing losses attributable to other causes. Also, an abnormal air-bone gap was noted in the PLF group compared with the other group. Although the original two-frequency criteria of earlier studies applied to the positional test did not predict the operative findings (leak or no leak), new data on frequency specific changes are presented. It is possible that fistulas at the oval window may be associated with positional threshold change at 500 Hz, and those at the round window with changes at 8 kHz.
© 1992, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.