Intracranial complications of acute and chronic mastoiditis: report of two cases in children

J Kuczkowski, B Mikaszewski
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2001 September 28, 60 (3): 227-37

OBJECTIVE: The clinical picture of mastoiditis, sigmoid sinus thrombosis and brain abscess has changed with the advent of antibiotics. A delay in the recognition of intracranial complications in children and in the institution of appropriate therapy may result in morbidity and mortality. Increased mortality of the children has been correlated with the neurological status of the patient on admission to hospital.

METHOD: A retrospective study was made of two children with acute mastoiditis and sigmoid sinus thrombosis and chronic mastoiditis with cerebellar abscess treated in 1997 in the ENT Department of the Medical University of Gdansk.

RESULTS: We present two cases of intracranial complications in children (13 and 11 years old) originating from acute and chronic otitis media. The first case, of a 13-year-old boy with sigmoid sinus thrombosis as a complication of acute otitis media took its course as a typical Symonds Syndrome. Mastoidectomy, thrombectomy and jugular vein ligation associated with antibiotics and edema-reducing drugs and anticoagulants proved to be successful. The second case of an 11-year-old boy with exacerbated chronic otitis media with cholesteatoma and mastoiditis, was complicated by suppurative meningitis, cerebellar abscess, perisinual abscess and sigmoid sinus thrombophlebitis. Neurosurgical approach by suboccipital craniotomy and abscess drainage was ineffective. Otological treatments of modified radical mastoidectomy, thrombectomy, jugular vein ligation, perisinual and cerebellar abscess drainage associated with wide-spectrum antibiotics and edema-reducing drugs were performed with a very good outcome. After 3 years of follow-up the patients remain without any neurological and psychiatric consequences.

CONCLUSION: The authors show different courses of both presented complications and imaging techniques and surgical procedures performed in these children. The sigmoid sinus trombosis with Symonds Syndrome may be difficult to diagnose due to previous antibiotics valuable in establishing the diagnosis and the extent of disease. The successful therapy is based on understanding of pathogenesis of the intracranial complication and the cooperation of an otolaryngologist, a neurologist, a neurosurgeon and an ophthalmologist.

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