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General Practice 2023

Mastoiditis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Mastoiditis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Mastoiditis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Mastoiditis is an inflammation of the mastoid bone, which is located in the prominence behind the ear, and is more common in children, although it can affect people of all age groups. Mastoiditis usually occurs as a complication of otitis media, when the microorganisms that cause the infection spread beyond the ear and into the bone.

Mastoid infection causes intense inflammation in the bone, which generates redness, swelling and pain in the bone behind the ear, in addition to fever and purulent discharge. In the case of symptoms that indicate mastoiditis, evaluation by the general practitioner, pediatrician or ENT is necessary, so that antibiotic treatment is started as soon as possible, avoiding complications such as abscess formation and bone destruction.

Main symptoms

The most common symptoms of mastoiditis include:

  • Persistent, throbbing pain in the ear and around the ear;
  • Redness and swelling behind the ear;
  • Formation of a lump behind the ear, similar to a lump, which can be confused with other causes. Find out what are the main causes of lump behind the ear;
  • Fever;
  • Yellow discharge from the ear;
  • There may be a gradual decrease in hearing capacity, both due to the accumulation of secretions and the involvement of the eardrum and other structures responsible for hearing.

Acute mastoiditis is the most common form of presentation, however, the chronic form can also develop, which has a slower evolution and milder symptoms.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor must evaluate the symptoms, examine the ear and, if necessary, request imaging tests such as computed tomography. In addition, to identify the bacteria causing the infection, samples of the ear secretion may be collected.

What are the causes

Generally, mastoiditis arises as a consequence of acute otitis media that has not been treated or has been treated incorrectly, which can happen when using the wrong doses, stopping use before the indicated time or when the antibiotic used is not used. enough to eliminate the causative microorganism, for example.

The microorganisms that most often cause this type of infection are Staphylococcus pyogenes, S. pneumoniae and S. aureus, which are capable of spreading from the ear to the bones.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of mastoiditis is guided by the otolaryngologist, and is usually done with the use of intravenous antibiotics, such as Ceftriaxone, for about 2 weeks.

If there is an abscess formation or if there is no clinical improvement with the use of antibiotics, drainage of the secretion may be indicated, through a procedure called myringotomy or, in more severe cases, opening the mastoid.

Possible complications

A very severe or incorrectly treated mastoiditis can cause:

  • Deafness;
  • Meningitis;
  • Brain abscesses;
  • Blood-borne infection known as sepsis.

When it causes complications, it means that the mastoiditis is very serious and needs rapid hospital treatment, otherwise it can even lead to death.

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