What Is a Perilymph Fistula, and How Is It Treated

What Is A Perilymph Fistula?

A perilymph fistula (PFA) is a collection of blood vessels and lymphatic tissue within the lining of your digestive tract. These structures allow food and waste products from your body to enter into the large intestine where they may cause damage or block up the intestines. They are most commonly found in children and young adults.

The term “perilymph” comes from the Greek word meaning “blood.” This means that when there is a blockage, the blood flow to the affected area stops completely.

When this happens, you may experience severe pain due to lack of oxygen and nutrients entering through your small bowel. You will likely feel very bloated and have a burning sensation in your abdomen. Your skin may become scaly due to inflammation. If left untreated, the condition can lead to death.

Perilymph fistulas are extremely rare conditions. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, only one person out of every 100 million is born with a PFA.

Most cases occur during childhood or adolescence, but some older individuals develop them too.

How Is A Perilymph Fistula Treated?

There are two main types of treatment: surgery and medication. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary. Your doctor will discuss the best option for you depending on your individual circumstances and the size and location of the fistula.

The goal of medical treatment is to shrink the fistula and avoid surgery if possible. If surgery is required, it can only be done if the fistula is less than 2.5 centimeters or if there are multiple fistulas present.

Your doctor will give you an antibiotic to take orally or apply directly to the affected area. They may also give you medication to reduce the size of the fistula and control the symptoms.

Over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief from any pain and discomfort caused by a perilymph fistula. While this treatment is unlikely to cure the condition, it can help you manage until you can see a doctor.

Sources & references used in this article:

Perilymph fistula: the Iowa experience by S Seltzer, BF Mccabe – The Laryngoscope, 1986 – Wiley Online Library

“Floating” Labyrinth: Pathophysiology and Treatment of Perilymph Fistula by Y Nomura, T Okuno, M Hara, YH Young – Acta oto-laryngologica, 1992 – Taylor & Francis

The perilymph fistula syndrome defined in mild head trauma by RJ Grimm, WG Hemenway, PR Lebray… – Acta Oto …, 1989 – Taylor & Francis

Diagnosis and treatment of perilymph fistulas without hearing loss by GT Singleton – Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 1986 – journals.sagepub.com

Perilymph fistulas: diagnostic criteria and therapy by GT Singleton, KN Post, MS Karlan… – Annals of Otology …, 1978 – journals.sagepub.com

Summating potential/action potential ratio in perilymph fistula by WL Meyerhoff, MW Yellin – Otolaryngology—Head and Neck …, 1990 – journals.sagepub.com

Perilymphatic fistula by CG Maitland – Current neurology and neuroscience reports, 2001 – Springer