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Characteristics of Patients With Unilateral and Bilateral Ménière’s Disease

Clemmens, Clarice; Ruckenstein, Michael

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e31826426b9
Vestibular Disorders

Objective To evaluate epidemiologic differences between patients with unilateral and bilateral Ménière’s disease (MD). To evaluate these differences for insights into the possible causes of bilateral MD.

Background The diagnosis of MD is based on clinical criteria, and its cause is unknown. Differences in characteristics of patients with unilateral and bilateral MD have been noted, but these studies’ diagnostic criteria have been variable. To delineate findings that might have implications as to the cause of MD, we have studied rigidly selected patient populations with unilateral and bilateral MD

Study Design Prospective cohort.

Materials and Methods Patients with a potential diagnosis of MD underwent extensive evaluations (audiometric, radiologic, and immunologic), and only patients with idiopathic MD were included in this study. Bilaterality of disease was based on clinical and audiometric criteria. Variables identified as part of the evaluation were subjected to statistical analyses to determine if significant differences existed in the characteristics of patients in the unilateral and bilateral groups

Results Patients with bilateral disease presented at a significantly younger age and had a significantly higher incidence of a personal history of migraines and a family history of MD. None of the other identified variables were found to be significantly different.

Conclusion Patients with bilateral MD have a higher incidence of migraines and of a family history of MD. Implications as to disease pathogenesis are discussed.

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Clarice Clemmens, M.D., Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, 3400 Spruce Street, 5 Silverstein Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:

Financial Disclosures: None.

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.