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    Hearing impairment is a reported complication of sickle cell disease, yet inner ear pathology is not fully understood. The study purpose was to examine the patterns of inner ear involvement in patients with sickle cell disease by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to assess its association with auditory functions. A cross-sectional study included 22 children with sickle cell disease examined for inner ear pathology by audiogram, MRI inner ear and transcranial Doppler (TCD) with revision of their hospital records for transfusion, chelation and hydroxyurea (HU) therapy. Abnormal MRI in the form of intrinsic T1 hyperintensity within the lumen of inner ear structures and cochlear neuropathy was found in five (22.7%) patients; left middle cerebral artery (MCA) flow velocity was higher in patients with abnormal MRI (83.4 ± 5.3 cm/sec) compared to normal MRI (68.2 ± 11.1 cm/sec) (p = 0.015), however, none of the patients had TCD of >170 cm/sec. There was no significant difference between patients with normal and abnormal MRI as regards hearing level and speech audiometry. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) was present in two (9.1%) and conductive hearing loss (CHL) in two (9.1%) patients. There was a significant negative correlation between right ear mean hearing level and right MCA flow velocity and significant negative correlation between left ear mean hearing level and basilar artery (BA) flow velocity. We concluded that inner ear pathology is not uncommon in asymptomatic patients with sickle cell anemia, yet it did not correlate with hearing impairment and may occur with normal TCD results.


    Azza A G Tantawy, Safaa W Ibrahim, Togan T Abdel-Aziz, Amr N Rabie, Sara M Makkeyah, Iman A Ragab. Inner Ear Complications in Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease. Hemoglobin. 2020 Nov;44(6):411-417

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    PMID: 33164572

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