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Ferri M. 1, Faggioli G. L. 1, Ferri G. G. 2, Pirodda A. 2
1 Department of Vascular Surgery, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
2 Department of Surgical and Anesthesiological Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Aim. Tympanosclerosis and atherosclerosis seem to have a similar inflammatory origin despite the different tissues involved. We have investigated the possible relationship between tympanosclerosis and atherosclerosis by evaluating the incidence of tympanic plaques in patients with significant carotid disease.
Methods. Between September 1st 2002 and April 30th 2003, we have evaluated all patients undergoing carotid surgery for significant carotid stenosis (group A). If at least 1/5 of the eardrum was occupied by plaques, then the case was considered positive. A control group of patients of similar age and no history of otological nor vascular pathologies was enrolled (group B). The 2 groups were compared statistically by Fisher's test and significance was set at p=0.05.
Results. Group A consisted of 84 patients. In this group 32 patients (38.1%) had tympanosclerosis; it was bilateral in 12 cases. Group B had 84 patients. In this group tympanosclerosis was present in 11 cases (13%).
The difference between the 2 groups was statistically significant (p=0.005).
Conclusion. More studies are needed before we can understand the cause of the association between these 2 pathologies. However early screening of atherosclerotic disease in patients with tympanosclerosis seems justifiable on the basis of the data of both the literature and the present study.