Mastoiditis is the inflammation of a portion of the temporal bone referred to as the mastoid air cells. The mastoid air cells are epithelium lined bone septations that are continuous with the middle ear cavity. As children are more susceptible to middle ear infections, they are at increased risk of developing acute mastoiditis when compared to adults. Most commonly, acute mastoiditis is a complication of acute otitis media. Although rare, other causes mastoiditis include infection of the mastoid air cells alone, referred to as incipient mastoiditis, and subacute middle ear infections, referred to as subacute mastoiditis.
With the advent of antibiotics, the development of acute mastoiditis and progression to dangerous sequela is unlikely. However, if left untreated, mastoiditis can result in life-threatening sequela, including meningitis, intracranial abscess, and venous sinus thrombosis. Despite advanced imaging techniques, antibiotics, and microsurgical procedures, the mortality of mastoiditis sequela in children remains 10%.
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