Ear-nose-throat manifestations of autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2004 Jul-Aug;22(4):485-94.


Ear-nose-throat (ENT) manifestations of connective tissue disorders represent a diagnostic challenge for clinicians as they often constitute the initial sign of an otherwise asymptomatic autoimmune disease. Moreover, in patients with known autoimmune rheumatic diseases, ENT manifestations can be overlooked. Hearing disturbances may be seen in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, Wegener's granulomatosis, relapsing polychondritis, polyarteritis nodosa, Cogan's syndrome, Sjögren's syndrome, and less frequently in Churg-Strauss syndrome and Adamantiades-Behçet's disease. Nose and paranasal sinuses are variably affected during the course of Wegener's granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, relapsing polychondritis and sarcoidosis. Recurrent mucosal ulcerations are common in systemic lupus erythematosus and Adamantiades-Behçet's disease. Xerostomia is a common feature of primary and secondary Sjögren's syndrome; salivary gland enlargement may be also seen in these patients, as well as in patients with sarcoidosis. The cricoarytenoid joint can be involved during the course of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout; osteoarthritic changes have also been described. Motility disorders of the upper and/or the lower portions of the esophagus have been reported in patients with dermatomyositis/polymyositis, systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Trigeminal nerve dysfunction may occur in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and mixed connective tissue disease. Peripheral facial nerve palsy has been described to complicate the course of Sjögren's syndrome and sarcoidosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Ear Diseases / etiology*
  • Ear Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Nose Diseases / etiology*
  • Nose Diseases / pathology
  • Otolaryngology* / methods
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / etiology*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / pathology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / pathology