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Surgical Outcomes on Hearing and Vestibular Symptoms in Barotraumatic Perilymphatic Fistula

Ahn, Jungmin*; Son, Se-Eun; Choi, Ji Eun; Cho, Young Sang; Chung, Won-Ho

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002160
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Objective: To analyze surgical results on hearing and vestibular symptoms in patients with barotraumatic perilymphatic fistula (PLF) according to diagnostic criteria.

Methods: A total of 39 patients (41 ears) who underwent surgery on suspicion of barotraumatic PLF from January 2005 to December 2017 were included. Pure tone audiometry and videonystagmography (VNG) recording for spontaneous nystagmus and positional tests were performed preoperatively and postoperatively at 1 week and 1 month. Surgical outcomes were analyzed based on hearing results, subjective dizziness, and change of nystagmus.

Results: Preoperative hearing level was 75.5 ± 28.7 dB for definite PLF and 88.5 ± 22.8 dB for probable PLF, and levels were not significantly different between groups. Preoperatively, subjective dizziness was present in 18 (94.7%) and 19 (95%) in each group. Among 39 patients, 24 had VNG recordings. Positional nystagmus was recorded in 87.5% (7/8) and 87.5% (14/16) of the definite and probable PLF groups, respectively. Postoperatively, hearing was improved in 65% (13/20 ears) of definite PLF and 61.9% (13/21 ears) of probable PLF. There was no significant difference between the two groups. Hearing gain was significantly correlated with the time interval between symptom onset and surgical timing. Subjective dizziness was improved immediately after surgical repair in 97.4% (17/18) of definite PLF patients and 100% (19/19) of probable PLF patients. Even though dizziness was improved in most patients, some had persistent positional nystagmus and recurrent dizziness.

Conclusions: Surgical sealing of both windows in suspected barotraumatic PLF is an effective treatment to improve hearing and subjective dizziness.

*Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, ROK Armed Forces Capital Hospital, Bundang

Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul

Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Republic of Korea

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Won-Ho Chung, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, 81 Irwon-ro, Gangnam-gu, 06351, Seoul, Republic of Korea; E-mail:

The authors have no funding and financial relationships.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Copyright © 2019 by Otology & Neurotology, Inc. Image copyright © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health/Anatomical Chart Company