Discussion in 'Support' started by calin, May 8, 2012.
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CT Angiography in a Patient
With Pulsatile Tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus usually beats in cadence with the heart. It is caused by the sound of blood flowing through vessels. There are many causes, most are benign but still may need treatment.
There are four categories of causes:
1) Arterial Sounds
2) Venous Sounds
3) Benign or Malignant Tumors
4) Spasm of Middle Ear MusclesDiagnosis of the cause of pulsatile tinnitus involves the imaging of the vascular system of the head and neck.
To the right, is a video of a CT angiogram which visualizes the arterial vascular system of the head and neck. Other tests which may be ordered are carotid ultrasound, MRI angiography and standard angiography.
A carotid ultrasound can test for carotid plaques which can cause pulsatile tinnitus and if obstructive or friable may cause a stroke. A CT or MRI angiogram are non-invasive tests but do not delineate the arterial system as well as standard angiography. Standard angiography is an invasive test that has a small but real risk of complications.
These tests may find vascular malformations and vascular tumors, such as a glomus tympanicum or jugulari. Glomus tumors or paraganglioms are a type of vascular tumor. They are usually benign but may rarely be malignant.. The angiogram shown on the right demonstrates a small glomus tumor in the middle ear cavity.
Increase venous flow can cause a vascular hum. This is due to noisy blood flow through the internal jugular vein, the large vein which delivers blood from the brain to the heart. The loudness of a hum can vary with different head positions and may be stopped by placing light pressure on the neck.
Increased intracranial pressure or normal pressure hydrocephalus can cause a venous hum. Normal pressure hydrocephalus usually occurs in individuals over the age of 60. It is a very slow and mild increase in the pressure of the cerebral spinal fluid which can over time cause dilatation of the ventricles and dementia.
Anatomical abnormalities such as a jugular bulb which is dehiscent into the middle ear can cause pulsatile tinnitus. Below is a 48 year old patient patient with a jugular diverticulum which caused pulsatile tinnitus.
Middle ear infections and fluid can also cause pulsatile tinnitus by increasing middle ear blood flow.
Spasms and contraction of middle ear muscles such as the tensor tympani muscle can cause a type of tinnitus which does not beat with the heart. This contraction moves the eardrum and the patient can usually feels the motion and finds it annoying.
and shows that tinnitus is very idiopathic...some get from sound exposure. some from otoxicity, and maybe even extreme stress? and now as you have shown with this link, could be from vascular and muscle contractions
thanks for the info
Agree that this is informative. Now and then I get these whizzy sounds in my left ear, which pulsate.
Tinnitus defies logic. So many papers indicate that tinnitus originates in the ear, then it becomes a disorder of the brain. As though the the ear "gets the whole ball rolling", then the brain says "Ok, I'll take things from here". But it would seem that pulsating tinnitus is clearly driven by blood flow.