Fifty-two children with mastoiditis were treated at the Federal Government Services Hospital over a period of 15 years (from 1986 to 2000). The salient feature in these cases was the presence of a post-auricular swelling and mastoid abscess. Extensive cholesteatoma was seen in 80.7 per cent of cases and 19.3 per cent had granulations in the mastoid cavity. Significantly, all patients had a history of chronic ear discharge prior to abscess formation. These children belonged to poor communities, were malnourished and attended hospital in a state of emergency.
The presentation and course of the disease confirms the aggressive and potentially serious nature of the pathology requiring early medical attention in order to avert impending complications. It appears that in our environment acute mastoiditis with abscess formation develops from chronic otitis media and the cholesteatoma. The surgical procedures conducted in these cases were radical and modified radical mastoidectomy.