Extracranial and intracranial complications of otitis media: 22-year clinical experience and analysis

Acta Otolaryngol. 2012 Mar;132(3):261-5. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2011.643239. Epub 2012 Jan 8.


Conclusion: The morbidity of the complications has had a decreased tendency in recent decades, but the category of the complications was rather diverse. There are still many serious complications that require our attention. Surgery is still the most important treatment option.

Objective: To investigate otogenic extracranial and intracranial complications in patients with acute and chronic otitis media.

Methods: A retrospective study investigated 285 patients with extracranial and intracranial complications among the 2346 inpatients with acute or chronic otitis media with or without cholesteatoma admitted to the Department of Otolaryngology, AnHui Medical University Hospital between 1987 and 2008.

Results: In the 285 patients with cranial complications, 253 had a single complication, 29 had two complications, and 3 had more than two complications. Intracranial complications included meningitis (16 cases), brain abscess (42 cases), sigmoid sinus involvement (29 cases), extradural abscess (8 cases), subdural abscess (1 case), and hydrocephalus (2 cases). Extracranial complications included labyrinthitis (90 cases), mastoid abscess (79 cases), facial paralysis (47 cases), Bezold abscess (5 cases), and apicitis pyramidalis (1 case). In all, 267 patients were cured or improved without recurrence. Five patients died from complications, of whom four died of cerebral hernia and one died of multiple abscesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Abscess / etiology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / complications
  • Chronic Disease
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Otitis Media / complications*
  • Young Adult