The incidence of acute mastoiditis has declined dramatically during the postantibiotic era. Even so, antibiotic-resistant or unusual pathogens can still cause this disease entity. At our hospital, we documented an increase in antibiotic-resistant and atypical pathogens such as Actinomyces spp. and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this paper, we discuss the optimal diagnosis and treatment strategy for acute mastoiditis, and we describe our retrospective review of 13 patients with mastoiditis who were treated at our hospital from 1988 through 1998. Eight of these patients recovered following treatment with intravenous antibiotics, with or without myringotomy, and five who had complications of disease were managed surgically. Among these five, one developed chronic otitis media and one developed cholesteatoma 3 years later. For patients with acute mastoiditis, we emphasize the need to be aware of any unusual pathogens that do not respond to empiric antibiotic therapy.
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