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Am J Emerg Med. 2017 Sep;35(9):1388.e1-1388.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2017.07.020. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Gradenigo's syndrome: A common infection with uncommon consequences.

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McLaren Macomb Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine. Electronic address:
Children's Hospital of Michigan.
McLaren Macomb Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine.


Acute otitis media is a common diagnosis encountered by emergency medicine providers. With appropriate antibiotic treatment, patients with otitis media, in general, have minimal long-term sequela from their underlying infection (Limb et al., 2017 [1]). However, untreated cases can develop life-threatening complications that require prompt intervention. We report a case of an 8-year-old that developed Gradenigo's syndrome, a condition characterized by the triad of otitis media, facial pain in the distribution of the trigeminal nerve, and abducens nerve palsy (Yeung and Lustig, 2016; Janjua et al., 2016; Kantas et al., 2010; Motamed and Kalan, n.d.; Vita Fooken Jensen et al., 2016 [2-6]). Signs and symptoms are often subtle, so a high-level of suspicion is required in order not to miss this potentially fatal process.


Abducens nerve palsy; Apical petrositis; Gradenigo's syndrome; Lateral rectus palsy; Mastoiditis; Otitis media; Petrous apicitis

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