Usher’s Syndrome Type II: A Comparative Study of Genetic Mutations and Vestibular System Evaluation

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Abstract

Objective

Usher’s syndrome type II (USH2) is characterized by moderate to profound congenital hearing loss, later onset of retinitis pigmentosa, and normal vestibular function. Recently, a study investigating the vestibular function of USH2 patients demonstrated a pathologic response to vestibular tests. In this cross-sectional study we performed vestibular tests of a group patients with genetic diagnosis of USH2 syndrome to demonstrate if vestibular damage is present in USH2 patients.

Study Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Tertiary referral center.

Subjects and Methods

Mutated genes of 7 patients with a clinical diagnosis of USH2 were evaluated. Vestibular function was investigated by audiometry, Fitzgerald-Hallpike caloric vestibular testing, cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (C-VEMPs), ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (O-VEMPs), and video head impulse test (v-HIT).

Results

Genetic tests confirmed the USH2 diagnosis in 5 of 7 patients examined, with 1 patient reporting a unique mutation on genetic tests. Four (80%) of the 5 patients with a genetic diagnosis of USH2 showed pathological O-VEMPs. Two patients (40%) reported bilateral absent or abnormal values of C-VEMPs. The superior semicircular canal presented a significant deficit in 2 (40%) patients. The same 2 cases showed a pathologic response of the v-HIT of the horizontal semicircular canal. Finally, the posterior semicircular canal presented a significant deficit in 4 (40.0%) patients.

Conclusion

A vestibular evaluation with vestibular evoked myogenic potentials and v-HIT seems to identify latent damage to the vestibular receptors of USH2 patients.

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