I Developed Pulsatile Tinnitus in May 2012 — The Cause Was Identified

Discussion in 'Support' started by Paul Johnson, Oct 24, 2012.

    1. Paul Johnson

      Paul Johnson Member

      Simi Valley, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2012 - Pulsatile Hi Volume
      This story of my Pulsatile Tinnitus might help you and your reply or posts might help me. I developed Pulsatile Tinnitus starting in about May of this year. It started with a just small whooshing sound and now is a large whooshing sound followed by a sort of wheeze. In July I finally visited a local ENT in Simi Valley, CA. He looked at my throat, neck glands, and ears and found nothing unusual. He ordered a audio test which showed no hearing loss. He then ordered an MRI & MRA of my head with contrast. The Radiologist reported negative findings. The ENT then referred me to Dr Brackmann of the famous House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles.

      The earliest appointment I could get was over 2 months away on Oct 3rd. Meanwhile I started to develop a strange coordination problem with my tongue so the ENT referred me to a local Neurologist. The Neurologist could find no stroke issue but put a stethoscope to the back of my ear and neck and reported hearing the pulsatile sound too. He then ordered MRA and CT contrast scans of my neck. The radiologist reports were again negative. Within about a week my tongue problem had disappeared. So I waited for the House appointment in Oct.

      At the House appointment, Dr. Brackman looked at the images from all the MRI, MRAs, & CT that I brought to him on a CD. He also listened extensively to the back of the ear area using a stethoscope and inside the ear using a single tube like instrument. He wanted his top radiologist to look at the scan images the next week and report back to me as he had an idea what was going on. The next week I went back in and he showed me a bright spot on the CT in an area in back of my left ear inside the skull. He said a artery was sending blood to a vein without first going through a capillary. This was making the sounds. I was surprised that the local radiologist missed the spot on the CT scan because it looked so obvious when pointed out to me.

      He advised me that I could leave it alone if I could live with the noise that will likely get worse; however, it could be treated by an Angiogram where they would run a probe up inside an artery from my leg area to behind my ear and contrast the area to verify the problem with a real time x-ray. Then if it is what they think, they could block the artery area to the vein and hopefully stop the noise.

      That same day I even walked over to St. Vincents Hospital across the street and spoke with the top Radiologist who does the angiograms. He too informed me there is always a slight risk of a stroke with this procedure.

      So now I am just taking time to research this more and to see what perhaps others have done and what others might learn from my experience. Look to see replies and other related stories.
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    2. DezDog

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Paul, nice to meet you and thanks for your story; how did the radiologist miss that?!

      You might want to consider reposting your message in "Introduce Yourself", where it's possible more people will see your message and say hi.

      Good luck with your research.
    3. Ashlie_McD

      Ashlie_McD Member

      SLC, UT
      Tinnitus Since:

      Did you end up getting the cerebral angiogram? They want me to get that but I'm terrified!!!!
    4. billy43

      billy43 Member

      nj usa
      Tinnitus Since:
      hi paul.I have pulsatile tinnitus for exactly eight months now.had mri with contrast,mra ct of brain and a ct angiogram of the neck.all came back negative.one nuerologist wanted me to go for a cerebral angiogram also.but two other doctors didn't think it was worth it due to the risks involved.so for now im holding off on that test.my pt is subjective.doctors cannot hear it with a stethoscope.in your case it sounds like yours is objective in which case theres a much better chance of a cerebral angiogram finding the cause of your pt.good luck and let us know what you decide to do
    5. Karen

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      My pulsatile tinnitus story sounds a lot like Billy 43's. I've had pulsatile tinnitus for four years now. During that time, I've had an MRI/MRA with contrast, CT scan, and carotid Doppler; nothing unusual was found. I was afraid of further radiation, so I've put off having any more tests right now, especially invasive ones. Mine is subjective (unable to hear it), and only in one ear.

      Paul, you're very lucky that your doctor was able to identify the probable cause of your PT. If I were you, I'd do a lot of research on the cerebral angiogram procedure before making a decision about it. Then, I'd ask others who had the procedure about their experience. You can contact other people with PT through the Whooshers.com Facebook group.

      Good luck, and we'd like to hear what you decide to do.
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