Conservative management of acute mastoiditis in children

Adi Geva, Yael Oestreicher-Kedem, Gadi Fishman, Roee Landsberg, Ari DeRowe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To review the current management of acute mastoiditis with critical emphasis on the role of myringotomy. Design: A retrospective chart review. Setting: Tertiary-care, university affiliated children's hospital. Patients: One hundred and forty-four consecutive children hospitalized for acute mastoiditis between the years 1991 and 2002. Interventions: All children were treated with parenteral antibiotics (conservative management). Myringotomy was performed at the discretion of the otolaryngologist on-call. Main outcome measures: Comparing outcomes of children with or without myringotomy regarding hospital stay, complications and the need for surgical interventions. Results: Myringotomy was performed in 34.6% of episodes. The children who underwent myringotomy were found to be significantly younger (22.4 compared to 28.8 months, p = 0.028) and had more complications (n = 17 vs. n = 8, p < 0.001). Complications overall occurred in 16.3% of episodes. Performing myringotomy had no significant effect on the duration of hospital stay. Children pretreated with antibiotics underwent significantly less myringotomies p = 0.027. There were no significant differences between children who underwent myringotomy and those who did not with regard to WBC count, or ESR. Conclusions: These findings suggest that myringotomy may not be required in all cases of acute mastoiditis. Parenteral antibiotics is sufficient in most cases. Criteria for myringotomy may include a younger age. Conservative management resulted in good outcomes in this series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-634
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute mastoiditis
  • Mastoidectomy
  • Myringotomy
  • Otitis media complications


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