Initial symptoms and retrospective evaluation of prognosis in Menière's disease

K Tokumasu, A Fujino, H Naganuma, I Hoshino, M Arai
Acta Oto-laryngologica. Supplementum 1996, 524: 43-9
Clinical studies on an initial symptom and a long-term course of vertigo and hearing impairment and retrospective evaluation of the prognosis were performed in Menière's disease. One hundred and fifty-one patients (67 males and 84 females) with Meniere's disease were treated in the Neuro-otological clinic, Kitasato University Hospital from 1990 to 1995. Ages ranged from 17 to 77 years (mean 47.3 years) at the onset of the disease when the first vertigo attack occurred. There were 106 (70.1%) in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and 28 (18.5%) aged 60 years or over. Seventy-eight patients visited the clinic within one year of the onset of the disease, but the mean interval was 4 years and 5 months (the longest was 25 years). The mean duration time for the follow-up studies from the time of their first visit to the hospital was 2 years and 5 months. The bilateral ears were invaded in 19 patients (12.6%) and the mean length of their time course was 9 years and 10 months which is longer than the length in unilateral cases. Several important key points for diagnosis of Menière's disease were investigated in 28 of the 151 cases who had been followed up successfully over a relatively long time course (the mean follow-up time was 7 years and 3 months). Fluctuated or stational cochlear signs, such as tinnitus, hearing impairment and/or fullness in the ear, had started prior to the onset of the first vertigo attack in 17 (61%) of 28 cases. Vertigo without cochlear sign appearing at the onset and cochlear signs were combined later in six (21%) of the 28 cases. Only five (18%) of the 28 cases had vertigo combined with a cochlear sign simultaneously at the onset of the disease. The affected ear was on the left in 15 cases and on the right in seven of 22 unilateral cases. In six bilateral cases the left ear was the first to be invaded in four out of six cases. The interval between the first and second attacks was over 1 year in six of the 28 cases and over 6 months in 10 of the 28 cases. Nine out of the 28 patients had recurrence of vertigo attacks during the first month and five of the nine had a cluster of attacks in the first month. Our study of 28 patients over a long time course revealed eight patients (28.6%) free from the disease. These patients had no recurrence of vertigo for more than 2 years after their last attack, and sixteen (57.1%) of the 28 patients had no recurrence of vertigo for more than 1 year. However, a long period of relief time of more than 2 years in 11 of the 28 patients and a period of more than 1 year was noticed in 16 of the 28 patients. Hearing levels at the middle and low frequencies in the first hearing test were compared with the last test. The mean of hearing levels changed from 38.1 to 36.2 dB after 2 years and 1 month in six cases with the right ear affected and from 34.1 to 45.3 dB after 5 years and 3 months in 15 cases with the left ear affected, but in seven cases with bilateral diseased ears the hearing in both ears became worse, from 25.5 to 57.1 dB in the right ear and from 30.5 to 53.6 dB in the left ear during a period of more than 10 years. These clinical findings should be utilized for diagnosis at the onset of Menière's disease to determine the interval for observation in order to evaluate the efficacy of treatment.


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