Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks of the temporal bone – clinical features and management outcomes

Thomas Hendriks, Arul Bala, Jafri Kuthubutheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: 1. To characterise the clinical profile, symptoms and examination findings of patients with spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea. 2. To evaluate the management outcomes of patients with spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea. Methods: A retrospective cohort study over seven-years from 2013 to 2020 was conducted at five tertiary referral centres. Patients identified with biochemically confirmed spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks of the temporal bone manifesting as middle ear fluid with no other obvious cause were included. Demographics (age, gender, body-mass-index), symptomatology, past medical history, examination, investigation (biochemical and radiological), management and outcomes were recorded. Results: 90 adult patients with spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea were identified. Right sided leaks were most common (58%), and a majority of the cohort overweight (mean body-mass-index = 29.2 kg/m2). Unilateral hearing loss was the commonest presenting symptom (81%). Two patients presented to hospital with meningitis presumed secondary to spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea. Over half (54%) of patients were observed who tended to be older (mean age of 71 years vs 62 years) whilst the remainder underwent surgical repair with middle-fossa craniotomy the most common approach (87%). Eight patients managed surgically had recurrent leaks (21%). Conclusions: This is one of the largest cohorts of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea reported in the literature and reiterates the importance for clinicians to have a high index of suspicion for this condition in patients presenting with a unilateral middle ear effusion, especially in those who are overweight. Surgical intervention carries a risk of recurrence and further studies are needed to determine the risk of intra-cranial infection in order to guide management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalAuris Nasus Larynx
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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