Otogenic intracranial complications: A review of 28 cases

Lela Migirov, Shay Duvdevani, Jona Kronenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Conclusions. Antibiotic treatment does not absolutely prevent the development of otogenic intracranial complications (ICC); however, their incidence is relatively low (0.36%). Various pathogens can be isolated in cultures of patients with these complications, but combinations of third- or fourth-generation cephalosporins with chloramphenicol, vancomycin, metronidazole or aminoglycosides can provide good results. Underlying cholesteatoma is common and is usually associated with intracranial abscess or sinus thrombosis. High morbidity rates warrant long-term follow-up. Objective. To evaluate the cause and nature of otogenic ICC in patients treated at 1 medical center over an 18-year period. Material and methods. This was a retrospective chart review of 28 patients admitted to Sheba Medical Center, Israel with otogenic ICC between 1984 and 2002. Results. Meningitis was the commonest complication (46.4%), followed by brain abscess, epidural abscess, sigmoid sinus thrombosis, subdural empyema, perisinus abscess and transverse and cavernous sinus thrombosis. Twelve patients (42.9%) had received antibiotic treatment prior to admission. Chronic otitis media, cholesteatoma and brain abscess were diagnosed mainly in adults, while acute otitis media and epidural abscess were more frequent in children. Twenty-one patients underwent mastoidectomy to eradicate the source of infection. The commonest finding at surgery was granulations (81%). Cholesteatoma was seen in 38.1% of cases. Cholesteatoma and brain abscess were usually associated with Gram-negative bacterial infection. Meningitis, however, was caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in 40% of cases. CT showed a sensitivity of 92.75% for diagnosing otogenic ICC. There was no mortality. The morbidity rate was high (71.4%) and included hearing impairment, hemiparesis, hydrocephalus, mental retardation, polyneuropathy and epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-822
Number of pages4
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Otitis media


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