The single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan enables clinicians to probe dynamic and metabolic changes in brain tissue through measurement of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). Diagnostic benefits of the SPECT scan in clinical neurology have been demonstrated. SPECT scanning has been shown to be more sensitive than morphologic imaging techniques [magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)] in many conditions. However, the use of the scan in assessing neurotologic complaints remains inadequately investigated. Few studies have explored the value of SPECT in establishing the causes of dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus. We studied SPECT along with MRI, CT scan, electroencephalogram (EEG), and other evaluations in patients with these neurotologic complaints. SPECT abnormalities were more frequent and prominent than those visualized by other imaging modalities. Overall, 78% of SPECT scans revealed abnormalities. Abnormalities were found in 46% of MRIs, 40% of CTs, and 29% of EEGs. The disparity between SPECT scanning and other procedures was also seen once patients were divided by their chief complaints. This study illustrates the sensitivity of SPECT scanning in evaluating neurotologic complaints and highlights the need for additional research into the importance of SPECT scanning in comprehensive neurotologic evaluation.
© 1996, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.