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a condition characterized by vertigo in combination with noise in one ear, impairment of hearing, nausea, vomiting, and loss of equilibrium; named after the French physician P. Ménière (1799-1862), who described it in 1861.
Ménière’s disease generally begins in patients between the ages of 25 and 40. Attacks may last for hours or even days. They are provoked by a decrease in the tonus of the vessels supplying blood to the peripheral portions of the vestibulocochlear nerve, which performs auditory and vestibular functions. According to another view, the disease is caused directly by increased fluid (endolymph) pressure in the inner ear. The vertigo is usually systemic in nature—that is, there is a sensation that surrounding objects or the patient himself is turning in a certain direction. Hearing is often unilaterally impaired after the attack passes. Loss of hearing progresses with repeated attacks, and deafness may result. Ménière-like conditions, with symptoms resembling Ménière’s syndrome, may also occur in some organic brain dis-eases (arachnoiditis, tumor of the cerebellopontile angle).
Ménière’s disease is treated with a series of strychnine and neostigmine-methylsulfate injections, with physical therapy (ultrahigh-frequency therapy, galvanic collar), and exercise. Drugs that dilate the blood vessels of the inner ear (pilocarpine) and brain (nicotinic acid, papaverine) and agents that decrease the excitability of the brain stem (atropine sulfate, chlorpromazine, haloperidol) are also prescribed. Surgery may sometimes be necessary.
REFERENCESVelikov, K. A. Sindrom i bolezn ’ Men ’era. Moscow, 1967.
Patiakina, O. K., and T. D. Zadorova. “Simpozium o bolezni Men’era.”[New York, June 1965.] Vestnik otorinolaringologii, 1966, no. 5.
Bystrzanowska, T. Choroba Ménière’a. Warsaw, 1970.
V. A. KARLOV