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Paediatric acute mastoiditis, then and now: is it more of a problem now?

  • B Attlmayr (a1), S Zaman (a2), J Scott (a3), S G Derbyshire (a1), R W Clarke (a3) and S De (a3)...



Acute mastoiditis is a significant cause of morbidity in the paediatric population. This paper reviews our experience with this condition over the last 10 years and compares it with historical data from Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK.


A retrospective case note review of patients who presented between 2003 and 2012 was performed.


Forty-six patients with acute mastoiditis were identified. Imaging with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging was carried out in 14 cases (30.4 per cent). Intracranial complications were identified in six patients (13.0 per cent), one of whom required neurosurgical intervention. In 27 cases (58.7 per cent), a surgical procedure was performed. Data from 1995 to 2000 revealed similar rates of imaging (30.0 per cent), but significantly lower rates of surgical intervention (23 per cent). A lower rate of intracranial complications (4.8 per cent) in the historical cohort did not prove to be statistically significant (p = 0.419).


The numbers of paediatric patients presenting with acute mastoiditis appears essentially unchanged. Improvement in imaging technology and aids to interpretation may explain the apparent increase of intracranial complications.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Bernhard Attlmayr, ENT Department, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longmoor Lane, Liverpool L9 7AL, UK E-mail:


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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