Magnetic resonance imaging for Ménière's disease: correlation with tone burst electrocochleography

J Hornibrook, M Coates, A Goh, J Gourley, P Bird
Journal of Laryngology and Otology 2012, 126 (2): 136-41
The newly developed use of magnetic resonance imaging of the human inner ear, on a 3 Tesla scanner with intratympanically administered gadolinium, can now reliably distinguish perilymph from endolymph and visually confirm the presence or absence of endolymphatic hydrops. Transtympanic tone burst electrocochleography is an established, and under-utilised evoked response electrophysiological test for hydrops, but it relies on a symptom score to indicate the likelihood of hydrops being present. The current diagnostic criteria for Ménière's disease make no allowance for any in vivo test, making diagnostic errors likely. In this small pilot study of three patients undergoing tone burst electrocochleography, subsequent magnetic resonance imaging confirmed or excluded the hydrops that the electrocochleography predicted. Magnetic resonance imaging of the inner ear is a safe technique that can be performed in conjunction with imaging of the VIIIth cranial nerves. As this report comprised only three patients in a pilot study, rigorous clinical studies are required to define the possible role of magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of Ménière's disease.

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