Patterns of nystagmus conversion in sudden sensorineural hearing loss with vertigo

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The patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) may complain of vertigo. Although there have been many reports on SSNHL with vertigo (SSNHL_V), changes in the pattern of nystagmus have not been studied as yet. This study is a retrospective study and aims to investigate the characteristic changes in type of nystagmus and clinical features in patients with SSNHL_V who experienced a change in their nystagmus pattern during follow-up. Among 50 patients with SSNHL_V between January 2012 and December 2015, we identified 15 patients with SSNHL_V whose pattern of nystagmus changed. Initial nystagmus was classified into 5 subgroups: paretic type, irritative type, persistent geotropic direction-changing positional nystagmus (PG-DCPN), persistent apogeotropic direction-changing positional nystagmus (PA-DCPN), and posterior semicircular canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The most common pattern of initial nystagmus was PG-DCPN (n = 7). The change of initial nystagmus pattern occurred on day 2 to 75 from symptom onset, and 2 (of 15) patients showed further conversion. The most common pattern of final nystagmus was PA-DCPN (n = 9). Hearing improvement after treatment was not significantly different (P = .59) between SSNHL_V patients with nystagmus change (25 ± 17 dB, n = 15) and those without nystagmus change (28 ± 18 dB, n = 35). In conclusion, clinician's attention is required in evaluating the vertigo symptom in patients with SSNHL_V because the initial patterns of nystagmus can be converted to another type of nystagmus. The presence of nystagmus change during follow-up may not be a prognosticator for hearing recovery in patients with SSNHL_V.

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