Impact of Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients—Insight into the Challenges from a Tertiary Referral Center in UK

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Abstract

Objective:

Analyze the presentation and evolution of chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) in children with cochlear implants (CI) and explore the merit of early intervention.

Study Design:

Retrospective patient review.

Setting:

Tertiary referral hospital and cochlear implant programme.

Patients:

Children with a CI who developed CSOM.

Intervention:

Tympanoplasty.

Main Outcome Measures:

Disease control, recurrence of cholesteatoma, cochlear implant preservation.

Results:

Eight children fit our inclusion criteria with a mean follow up of 8 years. Onset of CSOM symptoms was observed on an average of 5 years after implantation (range, 2–13 yr) and led to surgical intervention in an average of 15.6 months following symptom onset. Cholesteatoma was found in four of the eight patients. Of these, one patient underwent a subtotal petrosectomy and explantation with reimplantation at the same stage but the reimplant failed to function and was explanted subsequently. One patient was initially managed by a canal wall up mastoidectomy and explantation but went on to require subtotal petrosectomy and labyrinthectomy for recurrent disease. One patient underwent a subtotal petrosectomy with explantation and is awaiting a reimplantation. The fourth patient had limited disease around the electrodes that was excised without compromising the implant. In the group of patients with CSOM without cholesteatoma, one underwent an explantation due to recurrent ear infections and a subsequent cartilage tympanoplasty for a retracted eardrum. The remaining three patients underwent successful excision of retraction pockets and repair of eardrums using cartilage with the implant in situ. A mean follow up of 2 years after the implant preservation surgeries shows good functioning of the CI.

Conclusion:

Early recognition of CSOM is paramount in patients with CI as delay in treatment can result in the infection spreading via the cochleostomy resulting in loss of the cochlea. Recurrent ear infections in an implanted ear should prompt early examination to exclude the presence of middle ear disease, which may require anesthesia in a young child.

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