Asymmetric hearing loss stratification and vestibular Schwannoma risk: a meta-analysis
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INTRODUCTION: Asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss [ASNHL] is a common otological complaint. Vestibular schwannoma [VS] is a rare, benign tumor that commonly presents with ASNHL. Magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] is the gold standard in diagnosing VS, but is an expensive imaging modality. Therefore, this meta-analysis evaluates the diagnostic yield of MRI scans in patients with ASNHL to rule out VS. METHODS: A systematic review was performed using a keyword search on the PubMed Database. We excluded articles based on: Non-English, case reports, wrong diagnostic test, solely pediatric subjects, inadequate/unnecessary data, repeated studies, and unclear presenting symptoms. The demographics, definition of ASNHL, and the number and results of MRIs were collected. Positive MRIs were grouped based on differences in interaural hearing loss. RESULTS: 5,783 MRIs on subjects with ASNHL were collected from fourteen studies. 296 MRI scans (5.1%) were positive for VS. 170 positive scans were grouped. In Group A (10+ dB) 11.2% had VS; in Group B (15+ dB at ≥2 frequencies or 20+ dB at 1 frequency) 6.5% had VS, Group C (20+ dB) yielded 5.1% with VS, and Group D (30+ dB) had 0.7% yield of positive VS. CONCLUSION: MRI scans to rule out VS in patients with ASNHL has an extremely low diagnostic yield when assessing subjects on the basis of ASNHL. The degree of ASNHL does not correlate with increased odds of VS diagnosis. Overall, the risk of VS diagnosis in patients with any degree of ASNHL is low.