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Am J Otolaryngol. 2004 Sep-Oct;25(5):329-33.

Management of otogenic lateral sinus thrombosis.

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Ear Nose Thoat Department, Sisli Etfal Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



Lateral sinus thrombosis (LST) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of otitis media. We review the clinical presentation, evaluation, management, operative findings, and outcomes of this serious complication.


A retrospective chart review was performed at a teaching hospital of all patients diagnosed with an otogenic lateral sinus thrombosis between 1992 and 2002. Data on patients with otogenic LST were collected and analyzed.


Eleven patients were identified with a diagnosis of lateral sinus thrombosis, and all had a chronic otitis media. The most common presenting symptoms were headache, otalgia, and fever. Radiologic evaluation included computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, or magnetic resonance venography. All patients had radiographic evidence of LST preoperatively. The thrombosed sinus was on the right side in 6 patients and on the left side in 5 patients. The majority of patients (8 of 11) had a second concomitant intracranial complication. All patients underwent a mastoidectomy. The thrombus was removal in 7 cases, whereas only needle aspiration of the sinus was performed in 4 cases. Gram-negative bacilli and anaerobes were the most common organisms. There were no deaths but sequelae included VI nerve palsy, ataxia, and dead ear.


LST as a complication of otogenic infections may still pose a serious threat that warrants immediate attention and care. It is frequently associated with other intracranial complications. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging plays a major role in determining diagnosis and treatment plans. The availability of broad-spectrum antibiotics has improved our management significantly. Conservative surgical intervention including eradication of all perisinus infection and needle aspiration of the sinus seems to be effective.

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