Electrical Impedance as a Biomarker for Inner Ear Pathology Following Lateral Wall and Peri-modiolar Cochlear Implantation

Chanan Shaul, Christofer W. Bester, Stefan Weder, June Choi, Hayden Eastwood, K. V. Padmavathi, Aaron Collins, Stephen J. O'Leary

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Spikes in cochlear implant impedance are associated with inner ear pathology after implantation. Here, we correlate these spikes with episodes of hearing loss and/or vertigo, with a comparison between lateral wall and peri-modiolar electrode arrays. METHODS: Seven hundred seventy recipients of Cochlear's slim-straight, lateral wall electrode (CI422), or peri-modiolar (CI512) electrode were investigated for impedance spikes. Impedance fluctuations were defined as a median rise of ≥ 4 kΩ across all intracochlear electrodes from baseline measurements taken 2 weeks after switch-on. Medical records were analyzed from 189 of the 770 patients. RESULTS: The slim straight, lateral wall electrode was found to spike in impedance at a significantly higher rate than the peri-modiolar array (17% vs 12%). The peri-modiolar electrode tended to spike in impedance earlier than the slim-straight electrode. Impedance spikes were found to significantly correlate with medical events (hearing loss, vertigo, or tinnitus). Overall, in the "spike" group, 42 of 75 patients (56%) demonstrated a clinical event during the impedance spike, whereas 26 of 114 patients (22%) of the "non-spike" group had a clinical event. This significant difference existed with both implant types. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate a small, but significant increase in impedance spikes in lateral wall electrodes, and support the relationship between spikes in cochlear implant impedances and postoperative inner-ear events, including the loss of residual hearing and vertigo. Monitoring cochlear implant impedance may be a method for early detection, and so the prevention, of these events in the future.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Otorhinolaryngology
    • Sensory Systems
    • Clinical Neurology


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