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Relationship between increased carotid artery stiffness and idiopathic subjective tinnitus

Abstract

Tinnitus is defined as perception of sound with no external stimulus, and can separate into pulsatile and non-pulsatile types. Arterial stiffness is a parameter that can predict the cardiovascular event and associated with incidence of stroke. It has been shown that increased arterial stiffness may lead to microvascular damage in brain. Our aim was to assess the arterial stiffness of the carotid system in the development and severity of idiopathic subjective tinnitus. Forty subjective tinnitus patients and 40 age- and sex-matched controls were enrolled in the study. The parameters obtained from the participants included pure tone hearing (dB), serum lipid profile (mg/dl), fasting glucose (mg/dl), blood pressure (mmHg), and body mass index (BMI, kg/m2). The common carotid artery (CCA) stiffness index, Young's elastic modulus (YEM), common carotid intima–media thickness (CIMT), peak systolic velocity (PSV), end-diastolic velocity (EDV), resistive index (RI), pulsatility index (PI), vessel diameter, mean velocity (MV), and volume flow (VF) were measured in both the right and left common carotid arteries in both groups. The CCA stiffness index, YEM measurements, right CIMT, and left PI were found to be significantly higher in the patients than those in the control group (p < 0.05). With regard to the severity of the tinnitus and the patient characteristics, there was a significant positive correlation with the CCA stiffness index, YEM measurements, left CIMT, and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR). However, only the right and left CCA stiffness parameters were found to be statistically significant in the multivariate analysis as independent predictors of a moderate to high degree of tinnitus. The increased stiffness index of the common carotid arteries was significantly associated with the formation and severity of tinnitus. Therefore, an assessment of the carotideal system may be helpful in these patients.



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