To lead ophthalmologists to consider Cogan syndrome when managing a patient presenting with keratitis or other ocular inflammation accompanied by sensorineural hearing loss.
Seven patients affected by Cogan syndrome were studied: two males and five females, ranging from 27 to 65 years of age (mean age: 41 years). Subjects were evaluated for a period ranging from 22 to 46 months (mean follow up time: 29.2 months). All patients were treated with immunosuppressive drug combination therapy (IDCT).
Three patients were affected by classic Cogan syndrome (i.e., vestibuloauditory symptoms and later sensorineural hearing loss and interstitial keratitis). Four patients presented atypical Cogan syndrome (i.e., sensorineural hearing loss and chronic ocular inflammation such as uveitis, scleritis, conjunctivitis, retinal vasculitis, etc.). Four of these patients had a late diagnosis. Two of them were diagnosed when they already had a cochlear implant, one with bilateral deafness underwent cochlear implantation 1 year after the beginning of IDCT, one had severe bilateral hearing loss that improved during the first year of IDCT, and then rapidly worsened to total deafness in 1 month following an episode of severe systemic hypotension. Three patients who had an early diagnosis of Cogan syndrome had no worsening of vestibuloauditory dysfunction during the follow up period.
Diagnosis of Cogan syndrome should not be overlooked by ophthalmologists in all patients with recurrent ocular inflammatory disease associated with vestibuloauditory symptoms. Early diagnosis is essential to commence the appropriate immunosuppressive therapy that may prevent permanent hearing loss and ocular dysfunction.