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Intracranial complications of sinogenic and otogenic infections in children: an ESPN survey on their occurrence in the pre-COVID and post-COVID era.

Authors :
Massimi, L.
Cinalli, G.
Frassanito, P.
Arcangeli, V.
Auer, C.
Baro, V.
Bartoli, A.
Bianchi, F.
Dietvorst, S.
Di Rocco, F.
Gallo, P.
Giordano, F.
Hinojosa, J.
Iglesias, S.
Jecko, V.
Kahilogullari, G.
Knerlich-Lukoschus, F.
Laera, R.
Locatelli, D.
Luglietto, D.
Source :
Child's Nervous System. Apr2024, Vol. 40 Issue 4, p1221-1237. 17p.
Publication Year :


Background: COVID-19 pandemic is thought to have changed the epidemiology of some pediatric neurosurgical disease: among them are the intracranial complications of sinusitis and otitis (ICSO). According to some studies on a limited number of cases, both streptococci-related sinusitis and ICSO would have increased immediately after the pandemic, although the reason is not clear yet (seasonal changes versus pandemic-related effects). The goal of the present survey of the European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ESPN) was to collect a large number of cases from different European countries encompassing the pre-COVID (2017–2019), COVID (2020–2021), and post-COVID period (2022–June 2023) looking for possible epidemiological and/or clinical changes. Material and methods: An English language questionnaire was sent to ESPN members about year of the event, patient's age and gender, presence of immune-deficit or other favoring risk factors, COVID infection, signs and symptoms at onset, site of primary infection, type of intracranial complication, identified germ, type and number of surgical operations, type and duration of medical treatment, clinical and radiological outcome, duration of the follow-up. Results: Two hundred fifty-four cases were collected by 30 centers coming from 14 different European countries. There was a statistically significant difference between the post-COVID period (129 children, 86 cases/year, 50.7% of the whole series) and the COVID (40 children, 20 cases/year, 15.7%) or the pre-COVID period (85 children, 28.3 cases/year, 33.5%). Other significant differences concerned the presence of predisposing factors/concurrent diseases (higher in the pre-COVID period) and previous COVID infection (higher in the post-COVID period). No relevant differences occurred as far as demographic, microbiological, clinical, radiological, outcome, morbidity, and mortality data were concerned. Paranasal sinuses and middle ear/mastoid were the most involved primary site of infection (71% and 27%, respectively), while extradural or subdural empyema and brain abscess were the most common ICSO (73% and 17%, respectively). Surgery was required in 95% of cases (neurosurgical and ENT procedure in 71% and 62% of cases, respectively) while antibiotics in 99% of cases. After a 12.4-month follow-up, a full clinical and radiological recovery was obtained in 85% and 84% of cases, respectively. The mortality rate was 2.7%. Conclusions: These results suggest that the occurrence of ICSO was significantly increased after the pandemic. Such an increase seems to be related to the indirect effects of the pandemic (e.g., immunity debt) rather than to a direct effect of COVID infection or to seasonal fluctuations. ICSO remain challenging diseases but the pandemic did not affect the management strategies nor their prognosis. The epidemiological change of sinusitis/otitis and ICSO should alert about the appropriate follow-up of children with sinusitis/otitis. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


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Academic Search Index
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Child's Nervous System
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Academic Journal
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