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Original Article
July 2009

Evaluation of the Thyroid in Patients With Hearing Loss and Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (Ms Madeo), Radiology and Imaging Sciences (Drs Reynolds and Shawker), Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, Clinical Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Dr Sarlis), and Otolaryngology Branch, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (Drs Pryor and Griffith), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; and Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Dr Manichaikul).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;135(7):670-676. doi:10.1001/archoto.2009.66

Objective  To evaluate thyroid structure and function in patients with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) and sensorineural hearing loss.

Design  Prospective cohort survey.

Setting  National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, a federal biomedical research facility.

Patients  The study population comprised 80 individuals, aged 1.5 to 59 years, ascertained on the basis of EVA and sensorineural hearing loss.

Main Outcome Measures  Associations among the number of mutant alleles of SLC26A4; volume and texture of the thyroid; percentage of iodine 123 (123I) discharged at 120 minutes after administration of perchlorate in the perchlorate discharge test; and peripheral venous blood levels of thyrotropin, thyroxine, free thyroxine, triiodothyronine, thyroglobulin, antithyroid peroxidase and antithyroglobulin antibodies, and thyroid-binding globulin.

Results  Thyroid volume is primarily genotype dependent in pediatric patients but age dependent in older patients. Individuals with 2 mutant SLC26A4 alleles discharged a significantly (P ≤ .001) greater percentage of 123I compared with those with no mutant alleles or 1 mutant allele. Thyroid function, as measured by serologic testing, is not associated with the number of mutant alleles.

Conclusions  Ultrasonography with measurement of gland volume is recommended for initial assessment and follow-up surveillance of the thyroid in patients with EVA. Perchlorate discharge testing is recommended for the diagnostic evaluation of patients with EVA along with goiter, nondiagnostic SLC26A4 genotypes (zero or 1 mutant allele), or both.