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Outcome of hearing and vertigo after surgery for congenital perilymphatic fistula in children

Peter C Weber, Charles D Bluestone, Blas Perez
American Journal of Otolaryngology 2003, 24 (3): 138-42

PURPOSE: To determine if surgery to repair a perilymphatic fistula (PLF) has any significant morbidity and to determine the outcome of the surgery in regards to hearing and vertiginous symptoms.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective study was performed with all patients undergoing PLF repair at a tertiary medical center. Each patient was assessed for comparison of their pre- and postoperative hearing levels, vertiginous complaints, and recurrences.

RESULTS: One hundred sixty ears were operated on for PLF over a 13-year period. Of the 103 ears positive for PLF, 92% either stabilized or improved their hearing and 3% noticed a decrease, but this was well after surgery and not believed to be related. These results were similar in the non-PLF ears in which 95% had stabilized or improved hearing and again 3% had a much delayed decrease. Of the children who had vertiginous complaints before surgery, 91% were improved or stable. Only 1 child felt somewhat worse, but, as in the hearing loss, this was greater than 6 months after the surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical repair of PLF does not result in a significant risk for postoperative hearing loss or additional vertiginous complaints. Surgical repair may prevent further deterioration of hearing loss even in those patients in whom a PLF was not identified at the time of surgery.

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