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Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2002 Jun;35(3):565-80.

History of Meniere's disease and its clinical presentation.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Ospedale Koelliker, Corso G. Ferraris, 251, 10134 Torino, Italy.


The term Meniere's disease is used to define either the classic triad of vestibular and cochlear symptoms and aural pressure from known or unknown causes or its clinical variants, vestibular and cochlear Meniere's disease. Some variants evolve after years into typical forms, whereas others do not. Some symptoms (positional vertigo) have been long underestimated in previous reports. The more we study our patients and correlate clinical findings and the natural history with pathologic studies on temporal bones and laboratory research, the more we will understand Meniere's disease and its causes. Some causes have already been identified as most probable. Extrinsic factors (inflammation, trauma, otosclerosis, autoimmunity, endocrine disorders, and such) interact with congenital (genetic) and developmental intrinsic factors (primary or secondary, acquired) into a multifactorial inheritance that is, to date, the best explanation for the basis of Meniere's disease. Endolymphatic hydrops is widely accepted as the pathologic substrate, but not all hydrops seems to be progressive or becomes clinically manifest. Endolymphatic hydrops is the result of a dysfunction in the mechanism of production/absorption of endolymph, which is mainly due to defective absorptive activity of the endolymphatic duct and sac. Hyperproduction of endolymph cannot be excluded in some cases. Ruptures of the labyrinthine membranes do not satisfactorily substantiate the multiform duration, recurrence, and repetitiveness of attacks of Meniere's disease, nor do they explain the entire complex of symptoms. It seems reasonable to explain symptoms of Meniere's disease on the basis of mechanical factors (as observed in temporal bone studies) associated with biologic and biochemical factors.

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