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Inner ear dysfunction in patients with Behcet’s disease

Abstract

Background

Behcet’s disease (BD) is a rare immune-mediated small-vessel systemic vasculitis that often presents with mucous membrane ulceration and ocular problems. Alajouanine and colleagues first described inner ear involvement in BD in 1961. The cochlea is more frequently involved than the vestibular labyrinth or the central vestibular tracts. Hearing is commonly impaired in BD and rates vary between 24 and 62%.

Objective

The current study investigated the incidence, relationship, and characteristics of audiovestibular disturbances in patients with BD compared with age and sex-matched healthy individuals.

Patients and methods

The participants of this prospective study classified into two groups. The study group consisted of 15 patients (six men and nine women) with BD and the control group consisted of 15 healthy volunteers (five men and 10 women) without otological symptoms. A wide range of tests were conducted; all patients were evaluated by conventional pure-tone audiometry (0.25–8.0 kHz), high-frequency audiometry (8.0–16.0 kHz), and vestibular test battery in terms of bithermal caloric test and computerized dynamic posturography testing.

Results

There was no significant differences between the two groups in terms of sex and age. Abnormalities of the pure-tone audiometry showed that 34% of patients demonstrated variable degrees of sensorineural hearing loss, while 60% of patients demonstrated abnormal audiograms at the high-frequency audiometry. In terms of vestibular assessment, 34% of patients demonstrated abnormalities at the caloric test, while 47% demonstrated abnormalities at the computerized dynamic posturography testing.

Conclusion

The outcome of this study confirms the association between the inner ear dysfunction and the BD. Inner ear dysfunction in BD could be attributed to the presence of vasculitis or neuropathy that could happen on top of chronic inflammation process associated with BD. Therefore, patients with BD should be regularly subjected to otolaryngological evaluation to diagnose and for follow up of any audiovestibular involvement.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Fawzy Moustafa Ahmed.

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Ahmed, M.F.M. Inner ear dysfunction in patients with Behcet’s disease. Egypt J Otolaryngol 33, 78–83 (2017). https://doi.org/10.4103/1012-5574.199413

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Keywords

  • Behcet’s disease
  • caloric test
  • dizziness
  • hearing loss
  • inner ear