The two different blood tests weren't always consistent - - results were the same in 47 patients (both positive or both negative) but different in 16. But the IF test appeared give a more specific response to steroid treatment: patients who had a positive IF test result were three times more likely to improve after steroid treatment than those with negative IF results.
The two tests combined were even more predictive: 54 percent of those who had positive results on both tests improved after steroid, compared with 10 percent of those who had two negative results.
Interestingly, Carey notes, nearly all of the patients who had sudden hearing loss over hours or days had antibodies, and nearly all improved with steroids.
Since this kind of rapid-onset hearing loss has historically been excluded from the formal definition of AISNHL, Carey suggests the definition may need re-examining in light of this strong evidence for an immune-system cause in these patients.
In addition to Carey, who is associate chair for research of the Department of Otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School, the paper's other U-M authors are Otolaryngology/Kresge members Hisham Zeitoun, MPhil., FRCS, the lead author; H. Alexander Arts, M.D.; Dawn E. Denny; Michael J. Disher, M.D.; Hussam El-Kashlan, M.D.; David S. Lee, M.D.; Thankam S. Nair, M.S.; Anna Ramakrishnan, M.S.; and Steven Telian, M.D. Co-authors from outside U-M are Jennifer Gray Beckman, JD; Christopher D. Lansford, M.D.; Robert Sataloff, M.D.; and Susan G. Fisher, Ph.D.