Profile of paediatric tuberculosis mastoiditis – a case series

Keywords: tuberculosis, paediatric, mastoiditis, otology, hearing loss, TB

Abstract

Background: Tuberculosis (TB) otitis media is an uncommon site of extrapulmonary TB and can primaril present as a complicated TB mastoiditis (TBM). This complication is rare in children, even in TB endemic area but necessitates early identification as delays can lead to severe morbidities. We describe the clinical characteristics as a case series to raise awareness of the condition, and highlight fundamentals related to diagnosis and management.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of clinical and radiological information of five children with TBM seen at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, over the last 5 years. Variables collected included symptomatology, duration of disease, investigations and management.

Results: All were under 5 years of age and presented with typical features of acute bacterial mastoiditis. Mean duration of symptoms was 12 days (range 3–30 days). Two children had known TB contacts. Two children had pulmonary involvement, one with miliary TB. CT of the temporal bone demonstrated extensive bony destruction of the petromastoid and demineralised ossicles in all cases. Three children had intracranial extension. Four children demonstrated hearing loss between 30 dB and 83 dB. Necrotising granulomatous inflammation was present in the mastoid specimens in all cases. Confirmatory diagnosis was made via GeneXpert polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (2), Ziehl-Nielson (ZN) stain (1) or a positive TB culture (2). Postoperatively, one patient had normal hearing, two patients had mild conductive hearing loss (CHL), one had mild-moderate CHL and one had profound hearing loss.

Conclusion: Delays in identification and management result in marked bony destruction and hearing loss. Radiological and surgical findings typical of TBM, therefore, require tissue sampling from the ear for urgent microscopic, PCR and histologic testing, allowing the avoidance of a mastoidectom. In a TB endemic setting, children with typical findings and necrotising granulomatous inflammation on histology should be considered for prompt commencement of anti-TB therapy while awaiting a definitive diagnosis.

Author Biographies

T F Din, University of Cape Town

Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town and Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa

J J Fagan, University of Cape Town

Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town and Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa

S Peer, University of Cape Town

Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town and Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Published
2022-04-11
How to Cite
Din, T., Fagan, J., & Peer, S. (2022). Profile of paediatric tuberculosis mastoiditis – a case series. South African Journal of Surgery, 60(1), 62-66. Retrieved from http://sajs.redbricklibrary.com/index.php/sajs/article/view/3570
Section
Case Reports