[Unilateral sudden deafness as a primary symptom of brainstem and cerebellar infarction]

Shinya Oshiro, Tadahiro Ohmura, Takeo Fukushima
Nō to Shinkei, Brain and Nerve 2006, 58 (9): 807-12
We report a case with a unilateral sudden sensorineural hearing loss caused by an infarction of brainstem and cerebellum. The patient was a 74-year-old male presented with a sudden onset of hearing loss and tinnitus in the right ear and dizziness. Steroid was administered on suspicion of idiopathic sudden deafness. However, the initial symptoms were deteriorated approximately 2 weeks later. He newly complained of the numbness of the right face and double vision, and he was transferred to our hospital for further evaluation. Neurological examination demonstrated horizontal nystagmus, diminution in the right facial sensation, right peripheral facial palsy, right hearing loss and cerebellar ataxia. Urgent MRI disclosed fresh infarctions of the right middle cerebellar peduncle and cerebellum localized in the territory of anterior inferior cerebellar artery. In general, idiopathic sudden deafness and Meniere's disease are frequent diagnosis in cases of sudden hearing loss with vertigo, but these symptoms may rarely be caused by cerebrovascular disorder. In patients with risk factors for arteriosclerosis, cerebrovascular disorder should be taken into consideration even if idiopathic sudden deafness may be suspected clinically. We emphasize the diagnostic importance of careful observation on neurological findings and early detection of radiological abnormalities on MRI.

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