Role of MRI in audio-vestibular dysfunction; is it cost-effective?


  • Ali Amer Al-Barki Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Doctors, Armed Forces Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia
  • Jibril Yahya Hudise Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Doctors, Armed Forces Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia
  • Nadeem Malik Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Doctors, Armed Forces Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia
  • Montasir Junaid Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Doctors, Armed Forces Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia
  • Ali Almothahbi Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Doctors, Armed Forces Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia



Audiovestibular, MRI, Cerebellopontine angle, Cost-effective


Background: Till date, debate still exists among researchers regarding the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in all the cases presenting as asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). The objective of the study was to investigate cost-effectiveness of MRI for evaluating patients with audiovestibular symptoms.

Methods: A retrospective study was carried out included all adult patients (>12 years) presenting over a 12 month period between November 2014 and October 2015 at Otolaryngology department clinic, Armed Forces Hospital. Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia with asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss (sudden or progressive) and have underwent MRI of cerebellopontine angle and internal auditory meati for evaluation of audiovestibular symptoms.  

Results: The study included 52 patients with audiovestibular symptoms. Their mean age (±SD) was 46 (±13.9) years and almost two-thirds of them (65.4%) were males. Majority of them were presented with deafness (84.6%). Vertigo and tinnitus were presented in 38.5% and 53.8% of them, respectively. Over the studied 52 patients, MRI of cerebellopontine angle yielded no detectable lesion in any case.

Conclusions: MRI was not cost-effective, so it is important that clinical and audiometric indications for MRI referral criteria should be reviewed and analyzed to ensure cost-effectiveness of MRI in detecting audiovestibular dysfunctions, particularly in situations with financial restraints and long waiting time.


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