Acute findings in an acquired neurosensory dysfunction

Michael E. Hoffer, Bonnie E. Levin, Hillary Snapp, James Buskirk, Carey Balaban

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In the Autumn of 2016, diplomatic personnel residing in Havana began to present with symptoms of dizziness, ear pain, and tinnitus that emerged after perception of high frequency noise and/or a pressure sensation. Understanding the acute symptoms of this disorder is important for better defining the disorder and developing optimal diagnostic, preventive, and treatment algorithms. Objectives: To define the presenting symptoms in a cohort of patients in the acute time period after perceiving a noise/pressure exposure in Havana. Design/Settings/Participants: Review of 25 symptomatic individuals who reported a localized sensation of noise/pressure and 10 asymptomatic individuals (roommates of those affected) who did not experience the sound/pressure. Results: Immediately after the exposure, the majority of individuals reported intense ear pain in one or both ears and experienced tinnitus. All of the individuals noticed unsteadiness and features of cognitive impairment. On presentation to our center, dizziness (92%) and cognitive complaints (56%) were the most common symptoms. Formal testing revealed that 100% of individuals had an otolithic abnormality and evidence of cognitive dysfunction. Conclusion and Relevance: This study focuses on the acute presentation of a phenomenon in which symptoms emerge after perception of a localized noise/pressure and in which the acute symptomology includes the universal nature of vestibular injuries and select cognitive deficits. The findings presented in this acute group of patients begin to provide a better picture of the initial injury pattern seen after this exposure and may allow for more accurate diagnosis of this disorder in future cases. Level of Evidence: Retrospective review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • brain injury
  • cognitive disorder
  • Cuba exposure
  • Vestibular disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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