Otoscopic findings in hypercholesterolemic subjects
A. Pirodda*, C. Bruzzi*, G. G. Ferri*, G. C. Modugno* and A. Gaddi**
*Department of Specialist Surgical and Anaesthesiological Sciences, ENT Section, S.Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy; **Department of Internal Medicine D. Campanacci, S.Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy
Tympanosclerosis; Doppler ultrasound; tympanic membrane; atherosclerosis; hypercholesterolemia
123 - 126
Otoscopic findings in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Objectives: We aimed to verify the extent of a previously cited relationship between tympanosclerosis and atherosclero- sis by investigating subjects with dysfunction in lipid metabolism but no clinically apparent symptoms of atherosclerot- ic disease. Methodology: Forty hypercholesterolemic patients were submitted to Doppler ultrasound examination of carotid and vertebrobasilar arterial regions; results were matched to otoscopic findings. Otoscopy was performed to evaluate for sclerotic plaques of the tympanic membrane, which represent the most common, clinically non-relevant manifestation of tympanosclerosis. A control group of 41 randomly chosen healthy subjects were also included. Results: Nine (22.5%) of 40 subjects with hypercholesterolemia showed tympanic sclerotic plaques at otoscopy compared to 2 (4.9%) out of 41 control patients. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.02).An even stronger association (p = 0.01) was found between tympanic and arterial plaques in the study group, as we identified tympanic sclerotic plaques in 7 (41.2%) out of 17 patients with positive Doppler ultrasound signals for arterial plaques. Only two (8.7%) out of 23 subjects without plaques on Doppler ultrasound examination had tympanic sclerotic plaques. Conclusions: The results of this study confirm the existence of a link between tympanosclerosis and atherosclerosis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a link between these findings in preclinical atherosclerotic conditions.
Vol. 6, 2010, 2nd trimester

Otoscopic findings in hypercholesterolemic subjects