Dr Child's Casebook: Chain Reaction

Trapped in a cycle of viral infections, seemingly without cause, a Marfan patient long known to Dr Child contacted the Trust for advice. Regularly beset by a sore throat, runny nose and fevers, she had developed an ‘addiction’ to cold medication, while wondering if something unique to Marfan syndrome lurked behind the scenes.

Q: For the past ten years or so (perhaps even longer) I have suffered from frequent viral infections. These cause sore throat, runny or block nose, headaches and fevers. I would say that it occurs every few days. At the moment I seem to be living off Night Nurse, as it is the only thing that helps. Recently, I have had a full blood count test which has come back normal. I can't explain why I am ill this often. Do you have any suggestions?  Is this normal for Marfan patients?

A: Good to hear from you. Please ask your GP to refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist. You may have chronic sinus infection, or chronic tonsil/ adenoid infection. Because the skull is longer in those with Marfan syndrome, the sinus openings which drain into the nose, are narrow and can become blocked. An X-ray of your sinuses may show fluid in the sinuses.

Also, tonsils and adenoids are larger than normal, and may also block drainage, and become infected. So perhaps you are reinfecting yourself.

I believe you have a pet dog or cat? Animal allergy may cause chronic swelling and congestion in the nose and sinuses. How long have you had your pet? There are good pets for allergy sufferers, such as poodles or a non-shedding doodle, which have hair rather than fur. These pets do not induce allergy.

Your ENT specialist can best advise you on medical treatment, once a diagnosis is made. Please take a copy of our ENT in Marfan syndrome pamphlet to the specialist.

I hope this is helpful. 

Dr Child's Casebook: Chain Reaction
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