Infectious intracranial complications of sinusitis, other than meningitis, in children: 12-year

Elaine A. Rosenfeld*, Anne H. Rowley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Sinusitis is usually a mild illness in children, but intracranial complications can be life-threatening. We retrospectively nine cases of intracranial infections secondary t paranasal sinusitis that occurred over a 12-year period, excluding patients with orbital infection only. Cases were highly age- and sex-associated: the median age was 14 years, 89% of patientswere >9 years of age, and seven (78%) of the nine patients were male. Symptoms included fever (67%), headache (67%), eye swelling (56%), and seizure (33%). Rhinorrhea was uncommon (22%). Only two patients (22%) had had previous episodes of sinusitis. Staphylococcus aureus and anaerobes were the predominant intracranial isolates. Computed tomography scans of the head showed progression of diseasein patients treated with antibiotics alone; surgical drainage was required for all patients. The duration of therapy after surgerywas 3-8 weeks. Only one patient (11%) had persistent neurological sequelae. We conclude that (1) teenage males are at greatest risk of developing intracranial infections from sinusitis, (2) common symptoms of sinusitis such as rhinorrhea may not always occur, and (3) outcome can be excellent when a combined medical/surgical approach is used for therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-754
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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