Endolymphatic sac tumor demonstrated by intralabyrinthine hemorrhage

Case report

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✓ Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs) are locally invasive neoplasms that arise in the posterior petrous bone and are associated with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease. These tumors cause symptoms even when microscopic in size (below the threshold for detectability on imaging studies) and can lead to symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and facial nerve dysfunction. While the mechanisms of audiovestibular dysfunction in patients harboring ELSTs are incompletely understood, they have critical implications for management. The authors present the case of a 33-year-old man with VHL disease and a 10-year history of progressive tinnitus, vertigo, and left-sided hearing loss. Serial T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography scans revealed no evidence of tumor, but fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MR imaging sequences obtained after hearing loss demonstrated evidence of left intralabyrinthine hemorrhage. On the basis of progressive disabling audiovestibular dysfunction (tinnitus and vertigo), FLAIR imaging findings, and VHL disease status, the patient underwent surgical exploration of the posterior petrous region, and a small (2-mm) ELST was identified and completely resected. Postoperatively, the patient had improvement of the tinnitus and vertigo. Intralabyrinthine hemorrhage may be an early and the only neuroimaging sign of an ELST in patients with VHL disease and audiovestibular dysfunction. These findings support tumor-associated hemorrhage as a mechanism underlying the audiovestibular dysfunction associated with ELSTs.

Abbreviations used in this paper:CT = computed tomography; ELST = endolymphatic sac tumor; FLAIR = fluid attenuated inversion recovery; MR = magnetic resonance; VHL = von Hippel–Lindau.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Russell R. Lonser, M.D., Surgical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 5D37, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1414. email: lonserr@ninds.nih.gov.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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