Print E-mail
Volume 33, Number 4, December 2000

Mastoiditis: a disease often overlooked by pediatricians

Ming-Fang Cheng, Chen-Chia Christine Chiou, Kai-Sheng Hsieh
Department of Pediatrics, Veterans General Hospital-Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC



Although mastoiditis can be a life threatening disease, clinicians often overlook it because it is uncommon. We reviewed the presentation and management of all children younger than 15 years of age with the discharge diagnosis of mastoiditis in our hospital from January 1994 through December 1999. Nineteen patients that fulfilled the case definition were included. The most common clinical presentation in this series was fever. More specific findings, such as otorrhea, postauricular pain, swelling, and redness of mastoid could be found in less than half of these patients. Only two patients had characteristic physical findings, and mastoiditis was diagnosed in only three patients upon admission. Plain radiographic evidence of mastoiditis was usually not apparent early in the course. In this series, the majority of patients were diagnosed by computed tomography (CT) scans. The present study demonstrates that mastoiditis most commonly presents without a clearly diagnostic set of physical examination and laboratory findings. Mastoiditis should be considered in patients with otitis media or with fever of unknown origin (FUO). The empirical antibiotic treatment should cover organisms commonly found in acute otitis media (AOM), including Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis.


J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2000;33:237-240.