Potential cause of positional vertigo in Ménière's disease

Norimasa Morita, Sebahattin Cureoglu, Shigenobu Nomiya, Rie Nomiya, Shruti S Joglekar, Tamotsu Harada, Michael M Paparella
Otology & Neurotology 2009, 30 (7): 956-60

OBJECTIVES: To compare the incidence of deposits in the semicircular canals between the temporal bones with Ménière's disease and normal controls and to investigate the relationship between the incidence of deposits and the symptoms of positional vertigo, often seen in patients with Ménière's disease.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective histopathologic human temporal bone study.

METHODS: Twenty-two temporal bones from 11 patients with bilateral Ménière's disease, 28 from 14 with unilateral and 50 age-matched normal temporal bones from 30 individuals were histopathologically examined. Medical records were reviewed for clinical history of positional vertigo and duration of disease.

RESULTS: Significant differences were found in the incidence of cupular and free-floating deposits in the posterior semicircular canals between temporal bones with and without Ménière's disease. The incidence of free-floating deposits in the lateral semicircular canals was significantly higher in cases with unilateral Ménière's disease compared with controls. The incidence of these deposits was associated with the duration of disease rather than with aging. All 5 patients with positional vertigo (3 of 11 patients of bilateral Ménière's disease and 2 of 14 of unilateral) had free-floating deposits in at least 1 semicircular canal.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a possible causative relationship between cupular and free-floating deposits in the semicircular canals and the symptom of positional vertigo in patients with Ménière's disease.

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