Non-Surgical Therapy for Meniere's Disease Sufferers
Editor: You may have read about the meniett several years ago when it
was first introduced. It's a treatment for Meniere's Disease that seems
to be effective for some people. Here's the recent press release.
Unique Device Bridges Treatment Gap Between Medication and Surgery
for Individuals with Meniere's Disease
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Overcome by sudden bouts of
dizziness, a roaring or ringing sound in the ear, hearing loss and
painful pressure in one or both ears, more than 2.6 million individuals
in the U.S.and Europe suffer from Meniere's Disease. According to the
National Institutes of Health, an additional 45,000 new cases are
diagnosed each year in the United States.
At its worst, Meniere's Disease can be debilitating, making routine
daily tasks extremely difficult. "Every day my success was measured
by whether I could make it through the workday [without having to go
home]," explained Patricia Borrello-Monie, a medical social worker
in New Orleans, La. "This became how I defined my productivity at
work and my satisfaction with my life in general. I was totally non-
functional at night. I would come home from work and just lie flat on
the sofa to ease the dizziness sensation."
Typically, a Meniere's attack is characterized by a combination of
vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and hearing loss lasting several
hours. People experience these discomforts at varying frequencies,
durations, and intensities and may notice a loss of hearing or feel
unsteady for prolonged periods. Vertigo attacks, usually the most
debilitating symptom of Meniere's Disease, can strike patients with
little or no warning and lead to severe nausea, vomiting and sweating.
For some patients, the disease progresses from an occasional incidence
to chronic symptoms.
For John Lecky, MD, professor of Anesthesia at the University of
Washington Medical Center, Meniere's threatened his ability to care for
his patients. "Patient safety comes first," he stated.
"If you have a vertigo attack ... you're incapacitated. And like so
many patients with Meniere's Disease, I was constantly in fear of an
attack I wouldn't be able to control." After several severe attacks
in 2001, Dr. Lecky felt compelled to retire if his disease did not
Both Borrello-Monie and Lecky found relief in a unique device that
administers computer-controlled, low-pressure air pulses to the middle
ear. "I'd have tried anything and was about ready to [undergo
surgery to] have my vestibular nerve cut, but the theory of the device
made sense to me," stated Dr. Lecky, who was treated by
otolaryngologist Dr. George Gates, professor and director of the
Virginia Merrill Bloedel Research Center at the University of Washington
Meniere's Disease is associated with excess fluid in the hearing and
balance canals of the inner ear. The low-pressure pulses of the Meniett
device displace the excess inner ear fluid, normalizing the pressure
within the ear and relieving the symptoms of the disease. The only
device of its kind available in the U.S., it offers patients a way to
manage the disease without undergoing more invasive surgeries.
Borrello-Monie noticed a significant improvement within days of using
the device for the first time. "Five days later, I participated in
a two-mile walking dog parade during Mardi Gras [Krewe of Barkus] ...
and did fine," she recalled.
Diagnosis of Meniere's Disease begins with a thorough physical exam
and medical history interview. Hearing tests, including
electrocochleography which records the electrical activity of the inner
ear, help physicians confirm the condition. Because Meniere's symptoms
mimic several other disorders, additional procedures, such as magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) and allergy and blood tests, are often done to
rule out other possible causes.
There is no known cure, and front-line treatments include reducing
the body's retention of fluids through a low-sodium diet and avoidance
of caffeine and alcohol. Medications such as steroids, antidepressants,
antihistamines, anti-vertigo, vasoactive, and the ototoxic antibiotic
gentamycin are also used to combat symptoms. Prior to the ntroduction of
the Meniett, which is available by prescription, surgery was the next
step for patients with severe symptoms.
For more information visit http://www.meniett.com and speak with your
personal physician or ear specialist.