Ménière's syndrome (mən-yĕrzˈ) [key], disorder of the inner ear characterized by recurrent episodes of loss of balance combined with deafness and a ringing sensation. It was first described by the French otologist Prosper Ménière, in 1861. The sufferer experiences severe dizziness, in which objects may seem to spin around, and often nausea, vomiting, and sweating. Attacks may last for several hours. In the disorder, which occurs most often in men between the ages of 40 and 60, the cochlear duct of the inner ear is found to be enlarged, as a result of acoustic trauma, viral endolymphatic labyrinthitis, and ototoxic drugs. The damage produced by these factors cause lesions or disturbances in the inner ear. The disease is treated by administration of antihistamines, anticholinergic agents (e.g., atropine or scopolamine), or diuretics. Surgical procedures that relieve the condition include vestibular neurectomy, labyrinthectomy, sacculotomy (placement of a stainless steel tack through the footplate of the stapes), ultrasonic irradiation, endolymphatic-subarachnoid shunt, and cryosurgery for relief of frequent vertiginous attacks and degenerative hearing.
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