Mastoiditis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By: peterhutch

Mastoiditis is usually a consequence of a middle ear infection (acute otitis media). The infection may spread from the ear to the mastoid bone of the skull. The mastoid bone fills with infected materials and its honeycomb-like structure may deteriorate. Mastoiditis most commonly affects children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the leading causes of death in children. Now it is a relatively uncommon and much less dangerous disorder.

Mastoiditis is usually a complication of chronic otitis media; less frequently, it develops after acute otitis media. An accumulation of pus under pressure in the middle ear cavity results in necrosis of adjacent tissue and extension of the infection into the mastoid cells. Chronic systemic diseases or immunosuppression may also lead to mastoiditis.

Causes

Mastoiditis is generally a cause of inflammation of the middle ear infection into the mastoid air cells. A child have mastoiditis generally has a exposure of having a recent ear infection or has middle ear infections that continue to reoccur. The risk of mastoiditis is mitigate with the use of antibiotics for ear infections. Mastoiditis may be produced by number of other bacteria's.

Bacteria that cause mastoiditis include pneumococci, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, beta-hemolytic streptococci, staphylococci, and gram-negative organisms. Mastoiditis is usually a complication of chronic otitis media; less frequently, it develops after acute otitis media. An accumulation of pus under pressure in the middle ear cavity results in necrosis of adjacent tissue and extension of the infection into the mastoid cells.

Symptoms

There are some common symptoms of mastoiditis are tenderness & pain in the mastoid region, & swelling. There may be an ache localized in the middle or inner ear , and the ear or mastoid area may be red. Experience of mild fever or headaches . Infants generally show nonspecific symptoms, such as loose bowels , anorexia or irritability . Drainage from the ear appears in more complex conditions.

Mastoiditis most commonly affects children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the leading causes of death in children. Now it is a relatively uncommon and much less dangerous disorder.

Treatment

Treatment of mastoiditis consists of intense parenteral (intravenous or intramuscular) antibiotic therapy. I.V. penicillin is the initial drug of choice for at least a 2-week duration. If bone damage is minimal, myringotomy drains purulent fluid and provides a specimen of discharge for culture and sensitivity testing. Recurrent or persistent infection or signs of intracranial complications necessitate simple mastoidectomy. This procedure involves removal of the diseased bone and cleaning of the affected area, after which a draill is inserted.

Mastoiditis may be difficult to treat because it is difficult for medications to reach deep enough into the mastoid bone. It may require repeated or long-term treatment. Antibiotics by injection, then antibiotics by mouth are given to treat the infection. Surgery to remove part of the bone and drain the mastoid (mastoidectomy) may be needed if antibiotic therapy is not successful. Surgical drainage of the middle ear through the eardrum (myringotomy) may be needed to treat the underlying middle ear infection.

Treatment of mastoiditis usually requires hospitalization and a complete evaluation by a physician that specializes in the ear, nose, and throat disorders (otolaryngologist). Your child, in most cases, will receive antibiotics through an intravenous (IV) catheter. Surgery is sometimes needed to help drain the fluid from the middle ear.

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