Acute paediatric mastoiditis in the UK before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A national observational study

The INTEGRATE (The UK ENT Trainee Research Network) UK Acute Paediatric Mastoiditis Audit Collaborators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To explore the impact of COVID-19 on the management and outcomes of acute paediatric mastoiditis across the UK. Design: National retrospective and prospective audit. Setting: 48 UK secondary care ENT departments. Participants: Consecutive children aged 18 years or under, referred to ENT with a clinical diagnosis of mastoiditis. Main outcome measures: Cases were divided into Period 1 (01/11/19-15/03/20), before the UK population were instructed to reduce social contact, and Period 2 (16/03/20-30/04/21), following this. Periods 1 and 2 were compared for population variables, management and outcomes. Secondary analyses compared outcomes by primary treatment (medical/needle aspiration/surgical). Results: 286 cases met criteria (median 4 per site, range 0–24). 9.4 cases were recorded per week in period 1 versus 2.0 in period 2, with no winter increase in cases in December 2020-Febraury 2021. Patient age differed between periods 1 and 2 (3.2 vs 4.7 years respectively, p < 0.001). 85% of children in period 2 were tested for COVID-19 with a single positive test. In period, 2 cases associated with P. aeruginosa significantly increased. 48.6% of children were scanned in period 1 vs 41.1% in period 2. Surgical management was used more frequently in period 1 (43.0% vs 24.3%, p = 0.001). Treatment success was high, with failure of initial management in 6.3%, and 30-day re-admission for recurrence in 2.1%. The adverse event rate (15.7% overall) did not vary by treatment modality or between periods 1& 2. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant change in the presentation and case mix of acute paediatric mastoiditis in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • acute mastoiditis
  • antibiotic
  • paediatric
  • surgery


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