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What is Cogan’s Syndrome? – An Introduction to the Condition and its Treatment

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Cogan’s Syndrome Introduction


Cogan’s Syndrome
 is a very rare condition which involves the inflammation of the cornea of the eye and ears, apart from other symptoms such as fever. The condition is primarily associated with the disturbing signs of vision and hearing problems.

Cogans Syndrome
Source by : flickr

The disease is a rheumatic disorder in nature and can lead to serious complications such as blindness and deafness if left untreated. The disease is named after American ophthalmologist D. G. Cogan who introduced this peculiar condition to the world in 1945.

Cogan’s Syndrome is chronic in nature and the symptoms can subside and recur. The effects of the disease could last for a lifetime and the condition may keep on disturbing the patient from time to time. However, some patients show a good recovery response to proper medical treatment.

Cogan’s Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

The following are the complete signs and symptoms of the Cogan’s syndrome.

  • Repetitive Inflammation of the Cornea
  • Inflammation of the Ear
    • Redness and soreness of the Eye
    • Hearing loss
    • Vision disturbances
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Dizziness
    • Poor balance
    • Nausea or Vomiting
    • Vasculitis or Blood Vessel Inflammation

    Cause of Cogan’s Syndrome

    The cause of Cogan’s Syndrome is unknown and its occurrence a mystery. However, medical researchers have put forth a theory that the condition is a result of an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the tissues of the eyes and the ears.

    Cogan’s Syndrome Diagnosis

    While some of the symptoms of Cogan’s Syndrome can be hard to distinguish from other conditions, especially when it occurs in children, there are quite a few diagnostic tests that help physicians determine its occurrence. The condition is actually more prevalent in young to middle age adults. The following are a few ways to diagnose Cogan’s Syndrome.

    Physical Examination

    A patient is most likely to see a doctor with the appearance of the disturbing symptoms of the condition, which may occur simultaneously or not and some may not even appear at all. In case of problem with vision, the physician or eye specialist would rule out any infections before proceeding with the diagnosis and would recommend further examination to confirm the condition.

    Slit Lamp Examination

    In case of symptoms related to the eye, the physician may recommend a slit lamp examination. An ophthalmologist will examine the eye looking for a cornea inflammation, which is also known as interstitial keratitis.

    Blood Tests

    Blood Tests do not clearly confirm the occurrence of Cogan’s Syndrome but can be carried for more information. The tests include White Blood Cells, Erythrocin Sedimentary Rate and C-reactive Protein. Discovery of inner ear antigens can offer great help in the diagnosis of the condition.

    Imaging Tests

    An MRI scan could be useful in the diagnosis of the condition.

    Cogan’s Syndrome Complications

    If Cogan’s Syndrome is left unattended, it can cause serious consequences such as hearing and vision loss. If Vasculitis occurs, then it could lead to organ and tissue damage. Cogan’s Syndrome can even potentially be lethal because of this particular complication. With proper medical conditions, any serious complications can be avoided.

    Cogan’s Syndrome Treatment

    The treatment of Cogan’s Syndrome is largely aimed to control the symptoms of the condition.

    Medicine

    Oral corticosteroids are administered for controlling inflammation. In case there is no response to that medication and when more serious symptoms appear, then immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine and methotrexate are prescribed for the treatment. Diuretic medicines are prescribed to alleviate balance problems and dizziness caused by excessive inner ear fluid.

    Surgical Process

    Cochlear implantation may be recommended for patients with damaged blood vessels and hearing loss.

    Cogan’s Syndrome Prevention

    Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent the occurrence of Cogan’s Syndrome, since its causes are pretty much unknown.

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