Suckfull, M., S. Holtmann and R. Hecht. A new method for measuring internal ear circulation using colored microspheres. Laryngorhinootologie. 74:141-4., 1995.
The pathogenesis of sudden hearing loss is as yet unknown. Vascular disturbances are thought to play a major role, but they cannot be diagnosed clinically. We have therefore developed an animal model which allows measurements of the cochlear blood flow (CBF) and function. For CBF measurements a new technique based on coloured microspheres was developed. New Zealand rabbits were anaesthetised, ventilated and blood pressure and heart frequency were continuously monitored. 6 x 10(6) microspheres of one colour were injected in the left ventricle; different colours are available and allow multiple measurements. The amount of microspheres trapped in the capillary bed of the cochlea depends on the regional blood flow. An arterial reference blood sample makes it possible to calculate absolute values of the regional blood flow in the cochlea. The amount of microspheres trapped in the cochlea was determined microscopically after dissecting, dissolving and filtrating the cochlea. Measurements of the CBF in a control group (5 rabbits, 10 inner ears) at the beginning and after 120 minutes were performed. Mean CBF was 3.8 +/- 1.1 microliters/min and 4.3 +/- 1.3 microliters/min. The coloured microsphere technique allows repeated measurements of the CBF with good reproducibility and an acceptable standard deviation. CBF can be measured in absolute values, which is of advantage for determining a lower limit of the CBF for the cochlea function.