Cerebrovascular pulsatile tinnitus: Causes, treatments, and outcomes in 164 patients with neuroangiographic correlation

Daniel D. Cummins, M. Travis Caton, Kafi Hemphill, Allison Lamboy, Adelyn Tu-Chan, Karl Meisel, Kazim H. Narsinh, Matthew R. Amans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background Pulsatile tinnitus (PT) can cause significant detriment to quality of life and may herald a life-threatening condition. Endovascular evaluation is the gold standard for the definitive diagnosis of PT and facilitates treatment. However, no large study has determined the distribution of causes and treatment outcomes of PT evaluated endovascularly. Methods Consecutive patients evaluated at a multidisciplinary PT clinic from a single academic center were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with a suspected cerebrovascular etiology of PT based on clinical and/or non-invasive imaging, who were evaluated by endovascular techniques (arteriography, venography, manometry, and/or balloon test occlusion), were included in analysis. Baseline clinical features and treatment results by final etiology of PT were compared. Results Of 552 patients referred for PT evaluation, 164 patients (29.7%) who underwent endovascular evaluation of PT were included. Mean (±SD) age at first clinical evaluation was 54.3±14.1 years (range 25-89 years); 111 patients (67.7%) were female. PT causes were 75.6% vascular and 24.4% non-vascular. Arteriovenous shunting lesions caused 20.7% of cases, venous etiologies 48.2%, and arterial etiologies 6.7%. Of patients with a shunting lesion treated with endovascular embolization, 96.9% had lasting significant improvement or resolution in PT. Endovascular stenting for venous sinus stenosis gave 84.6% of patients lasting improvement or resolution in PT. Arterial and non-vascular PT had fewer patients treated endovascularly and less improvement in PT symptoms. Conclusion PT with a suspected vascular cause is most often attributable to venous etiologies. PT caused by arteriovenous shunting or venous sinus stenosis may be effectively treated endovascularly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of NeuroInterventional Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiography
  • Balloon
  • Embolic
  • Fistula
  • Stent


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