Advanced pediatric mastoiditis with and without intracranial complications

Jose P. Zevallos, Jeffrey T. Vrabec, Robert A. Williamson, Carla Giannoni, Deidre Larrier, Marcelle Sulek, Ellen M. Friedman, John S. Oghalai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Recently, several groups have noticed an increase in cases of advanced pediatric mastoiditis and intracranial complications. The objective of this study was to review the bacteriology of advanced mastoiditis in pediatric patients, with the hypothesis that a difference in bacteriology might explain the development of an intracranial complication. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Methods: All pediatric patients with coalescent mastoiditis requiring surgery treated at a tertiary care children's hospital between 2002 and 2007 were reviewed. Every patient included was treated either with mastoidectomy alone (for coalescent mastoiditis without an intracranial complication) or with trans- temporal craniotomy (for coalescent mastoiditis with an intracranial complication). All patients had surgical specimens sent for pathology, Gram stain, and aerobic and anaerobic cultures. Results: One hundred eight pediatric patients with coalescent mastoiditis were identified: 58 (53%) presented with coalescent mastoiditis alone, 17 (16%) presented with coalescent mastoiditis and an intra- cranial complication, and 33 (31%) were excluded because they were treated with myringotomy and tubes alone, had incomplete data, or had an unclear diagnosis. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most commonly cultured organism in patients with and without intracranial complications. Anaerobic isolates were present in 29.4% of patients with intracranial complications and 5.7% of patients without intracranial complications (P=015). Conclusions: Nearly a quarter of pediatric patients with coalescent mastoiditis presented with a simultaneous intracranial complication. There was an increased incidence of anaerobic organisms in patients with intracranial complications compared to those without, indicating the importance of culture and antibiotic coverage appropriate for anaerobes. This series demonstrates the role of aggressive surgical management and close collaboration with the infectious disease service for long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy in treating pediatric patients with advanced mastoiditis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1615
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Anaerobic infection
  • Intracranial infection
  • Mastoiditis
  • Otitis media
  • Otogenic complications
  • Skull base surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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