• osteogenesis imperfecta;
  • hearing loss;
  • vertigo;
  • basilar impression


Progressive hearing loss is a major symptom in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic brittle bone disease. Vertigo is frequently associated with otosclerosis in which the hearing loss clinically resembles that in OI. Vertigo is also common in basilar impression (BI) found in up to 25% of adult OI patients. In order to evaluate the cause, frequency, and characteristics of vertigo in OI, 42 patients were studied by interview, clinical examination, and audiological examination supplemented with electronystagmography (ENG) and lateral skull radiography. Audiometry showed hearing loss in 25 patients (59.5%). Nine patients (21%) displayed abnormal skull base anatomy in the forms of basilar impression, basilar invagination, or both, all designated here as BI. Twenty-two patients (52.4%) reported vertigo, mostly of floating or rotational sensation of short duration. Patients with hearing loss tended to have more vertigo than patients with normal hearing. Vertigo was not correlated with type of hearing loss or auditory brain-stem response (ABR) pathology. ENG was abnormal in 14 patients (33.3%). No dependency was found between vertigo and deviant ENG results. Patients with BI tended to have more vertigo than patients with normal skull base but the difference was not statistically significant. Neither ENG pathology, nor the presence or type of hearing loss showed correlation with BI. In conclusion, vertigo is common in patients with OI. In most cases, it may be secondary to inner ear pathology, and in only some patients does BI explain it. Since some OI patients without BI or hearing loss also suffer from vertigo, further clinical and neurological studies are needed to define the pathogenesis of vertigo in OI. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.