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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Functional evaluation of the vestibular organ in infants with risk factorsfor hearing loss occurring in the perinatal period.

Olaf Zagólski, Dariusz Jurkiewicz

Med Sci Monit 2006; 12(6): CR248-252

ID: 451250

Available online: 2006-06-01

Published: 2006-06-01

Background: Asphyxia at birth, low birth weight and low birth age constituterisk factors for inner ear damage in the perinatal period. Caloric stimulation is one of the most reliablediagnostic tools for vestibular testing in infants. Recording of vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials(VEMPs) evaluates the otolith organ and its pathways. Potentials reflecting the integrity of sacculo-collicreflex pathways are recorded on the surface of the neck muscles. The purpose of our study was to evaluatevestibular function in the discussed group of infants. Material/Methods: 72 infants aged 3 months wereexamined: 40 healthy controls and 32 infants (17 girls, 15 boys) with risk factors for hearing loss occurringin the perinatal period. Results: No reaction to caloric stimulation was elicited from 6 examined ears,no VEMPs were recorded from 6 ears, profound sensorineural hearing loss was diagnosed in 4 ears. TheVEMP measurements did not differ between the groups. Profound sensorineural hearing loss occurred mostfrequently in infants with very low Apgar scores, responses to caloric stimulation were weakened in subjectswith low Apgar scores. The response of the horizontal semicircular canals was more frequently abnormalthan that of the otolith organs. Conclusions: The vestibular organ functions were frequently impairedin this group of infants, but the damage was rarely complete. Infants' vestibular organs should be routinelydiagnosed.

Keywords: Evoked Potentials, Auditory - physiology, Caloric Tests, Hearing Loss - diagnosis, Perinatal Care, Risk Factors, Vestibule, Labyrinth - physiopathology