Diagnosing Large Vestibular Aqueduct: Radiological Review of High-Resolution CT Versus High-Resolution Volumetric MRI

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Abstract

Objectives:

To compare the diagnostic yield of high-resolution volumetric T2-weighted MRI (HRT2-MRI) with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) for diagnosis of large vestibular aqueduct (LVA).

Study Design:

Three board-certified neuroradiologists performed an independent, blinded radiological review for diagnosing LVA with 2:1 age-matched controls on patients with both HRCT and HRT2-MRI imaging.

Setting:

Tertiary referral center.

Patients:

All patients between 2002 and 2016 with hearing loss who underwent both HRCT and HRT2-MRI and were diagnosed with LVA on either modality.

Main Outcome Measures:

Concordance rate for LVA between HRCT and HRT2-MRI.

Results:

Concordance rate for HRCT and HRT2-MRI for diagnosing LVA was 88% (124/141) when assessing both the midpoint and external aperture diameters. Fifteen ears had LVA on computed tomography (CT), but not on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); in comparison, two ears had LVA on MRI, but not on CT (p = 0.002). Excellent inter-rater reliability among the three radiologists was demonstrated.

Conclusion:

Historically, HRCT has been the imaging modality of choice for diagnosing LVA. Although a higher concordance rate of HRT2-MRI was found compared with previous studies utilizing earlier MRI technology, HRCT still detected a larger number of patients with clinically significant hearing loss compared with MRI. Given the high concordance rate and efficacy of both modalities in diagnosing LVA, the ultimate decision of which modality to choose may depend on other patient-specific and clinical factors.

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