Acute bilateral hearing loss as a "worsening sign" in a patient with critical basilar artery stenosis

Author(s): Chiang CI, Chou CH, Hsueh CJ, Cheng CA, Peng GS


We report a patient who presented with an acute-onset transient vertigo and unsteady gait with bilateral hearing loss. Brain MRI revealed a critical basilar artery (BA) stenosis at the lower pons and infarction in various areas on both sides in the territories of the posterior inferior cerebellar arteries (PICA). Further, we could not visualize the right anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA). The bilateral hearing loss may be ascribed to stroke due to the critical BA stenosis, causing hypoperfusion injury extending from the PICA to the AICA on both sides. Local intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy with the administration of 1×10(6) IU of urokinase aided partial recanalization of the BA, after which the right AICA reappeared. The neurological function of the patient recovered to normal, and no hemorrhagic complications were observed. Therefore, practitioners should be alert when treating patients with acute bilateral hearing loss, which may be related to an underlying catastrophic stroke.

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