, Volume 264, Issue 12, pp 1399-1403
Date: 04 Jul 2007

Meniere’s disease: rare or underdiagnosed among Africans

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Meniere’s disease can easily be misdiagnosed because several otological disorders mimic the disease. Conflicting reports on the incidence of this disease among the Africans had been documented. The goal of our study was to verify the prevalence and clinical features of Meniere’s disease in WA sub-region. A 10 year (1996–2005) retrospective study carried out in our hospital. The diagnostic criteria for the disease were outlined and Oyedeji’s social classification instrument was adapted for socio-economic stratification of patients. The method of treatment and prognostic out-come were discussed. Out of 11,463 patients seen within the period, 25 (16 females and 9 males) met the diagnostic criteria for Meniere’s disease. The age ranged from 27 to 75 years (mean = 47.2 SD13.2) and the most predominant age group was 41–50 years. Sixty-eight percent were of low socio-economic class and the rest high. About 84% had unilateral and 16% bilateral Meniere’s disease. All the patients presented with tinnitus, vertigo and audiologically confirmed sensorineural hearing loss. CT-scan and MRI were used to rule out some differentials, while caloric and recruitment tests were used to strengthen the diagnosis. Treatment regimen (conservative) outcome: 72% had good improvement, 8% fair, while 20% absconded from follow-up. The prevalence of Meniere’s disease in West African sub-region is 0.22%. This prevalence among Africans may not differ from the Caucasians. Under- or over-diagnosis of the disease previously must have been responsible for the contrasting results. Appropriate diagnostic tools are necessary for accurate diagnosis of the disease.