Meniett: Helpful?

meniettLast week we posted an anecdotal report specific to the potential benefits of a low-salt diet for a diagnosis of Ménière’s disease. A couple of years ago, I reviewed several proposed treatments for Ménière’s disease, but did not cover the Meniett device. The manufacturer, Medtronic, describes the Meniett as a “Low-Pressure Pulse Generator device.” The idea behind the Meniett is that pressure applied against the round and/or oval window may alter fluid dynamics within the labyrinth and reduce the frequency and severity of Ménière’s attacks.

In March of 2008, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery issued a policy statement as follows: “We find that there is convincing and well-controlled medical evidence to support the use of micropressure therapy (such as the Meniett device) in certain cases of Ménière’s disease. Micropressure therapy is best used as a second level therapy when medical treatment has failed.”
Medtronic’s website states: “Ménière’s disease is not responsive to Meniett therapy in a small portion of the population.” I am always curious about the evidence behind statements such as “certain cases” and “small portion of the population.” Let’s look at some recent hard data on the subject.

A recent report published in Clinical Otolaryngology reviewed four independent studies that examined the responses of Ménière’s patients to Meniett therapy versus a placebo device. The studies followed up with patients at two weeks to four months following treatment. Both groups showed a significant improvement in symptoms, but there was no difference between the patients using the Meniett device compared to those using a placebo device. Like most treatments for Ménière’s disease, some patients respond immediately and dramatically to some treatments, but there is no treatment that works for everyone. As a result, physicians often employ the “treatment ladder” approach, which we will discuss next week.

About Alan Desmond

Dr. Alan Desmond is the director of the Balance Disorders Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health Center, and holds an adjunct assistant professor faculty position at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. In 2015, he received the Presidents Award from the American Academy of Audiology.