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Syndrome de Cogan : à propos d'un cas et brève revue de la littérature [Cogan's Syndrome]
Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie
We report the case of a 20-year-old woman, with no medical history, who in a short period of time developed the association of a bilateral vestibulocochlear deficit and a nonsyphilitic interstitial keratitis, the usual clinical presentation of Cogan's syndrome. This rare disease was named after David Cogan, the ophthalmologist to whom we owe the description of the first series of cases. The precise aetiology of Cogan's syndrome has yet to be defined, but clinical and biological evidence point toward an immunopathological process. Some authors distinguish between a typical and an atypical form of Cogan's syndrome, the former being associated with interstitial keratitis, the latter with other forms of ocular involvement. The diagnosis of Cogan's syndrome is mainly a clinical one, the association of a bilateral vestibulocochlear deficit and a non-syphilitic keratitis being almost specific. Cogan's syndrome is frequently associated with general signs and cardiovascular, neurological, rheumathological and digestive involvement. Laboratory data usually show nonspecific inflammatory signs (elevation of the white cell count and of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate). The mortality of the disease is essentially determined by its cardiovascular involvement, mostly aortic insufficiency, which should therefore actively be sought for in every patient. It is useful to emphasise that the typical form of Cogan's syndrome carries a higher risk regarding the development of aortic insufficiency, whereas the atypical form is more often associated with a systemic vasculitis. Treatment is mandatory, based upon corticosteroids, and must sometimes be intensified by the administration of a steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drug. Although our patient perfectly met the diagnostic criteria of Cogan's syndrome, the vestibular symptoms preceded the visual complaints, the reverse temporal sequence being more often reported in the literature. Systemic signs and cardiovascular involvement are frequently seen in Cogan's syndrome, but were notably absent in our patient. Blood samples showed inflammatory signs, whereas both lumbar puncture and cerebral MRI were normal, which is the usual pattern encountered in Cogan's syndrome. Following the rapid initiation of immunosuppressive therapy (Prednisone), the visual symptoms due to the bilateral keratitis resolved in a matter of days, whereas the vestibulocochlear deficit was only partly - but dramatically - reduced. This is in accordance with literature data, showing that a severe and permanent auditory deficit occurs at some time in the majority of patients suffering from Cogan's syndrome. Tapering off Prednisone unfortunately reactivated the audiovestibular and ocular symptoms of the disease in our patient so that a steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drug had to be added (azathioprine, followed by mycophenolate mofetil because the patient developed hepatic intolerance). Only after these therapeutic measures could the disease be stabilised. With this case report, we would like to emphasise the importance of rapidly identifying the clinical picture of Cogan's syndrome, so that immunosuppressive therapy can be started without delay, which may significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality of this disease.
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