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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Practical versus theoretical management of autoimmune inner ear disease.

Autoimmune inner ear disease is an uncommon but distinct clinical entity. Our ignorance of the immune mediating pathways, need of further animal model experimentation, variability of laboratory test results and of patient treatment responses illustrate how poorly we understand this disorder. The purpose of this review is to compare practical vs theoretical management of autoimmune inner ear disease, based upon our current knowledge of the disease process and upon a review of clinical experience at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Representative case histories are presented. The following preliminary conclusions are discussed: Autoimmune inner ear disease can present as a systemic or localized otologic immune disorder. Hearing loss can begin at any age, with unilateral or bilateral sudden onset, fluctuating or progressive symptoms, with or without associated dizziness. The pathogenesis of autoimmune inner ear disease is probably multifactorial (cellular and humoral). The sensitivity and specificity of different laboratory tests vary greatly, but even the most sensitive tests may be falsely normal when symptoms are not acute or when the patient is taking immunosuppressant medication. The mainstay of autoimmune inner ear treatment is steroids: however, cytotoxic drugs are recommended when there is no response to steroid treatment. Apheresis is reserved for selected cases. Hearing improvement can be dramatic even after 2 months of profound deafness. Flare-ups of autoimmune ear disease are best managed by increasing steroid dosage or adding cytotoxic medications. Unfortunately, some patients will develop progressive hearing loss despite vigorous treatment.[1]


  1. Practical versus theoretical management of autoimmune inner ear disease. Hughes, G.B., Kinney, S.E., Barna, B.P., Calabrese, L.H. Laryngoscope (1984) [Pubmed]
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