Otogenic pneumocephalus as a complication of multiple myeloma | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Otogenic pneumocephalus as a complication of multiple myeloma

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September 7, 2012
by Melissa J. Maguire, MD; Uma Nath, MD; Guiseppe E. Bignardi, MD


We report a case of otogenic pneumocephalus in an 80-year-old woman with multiple myeloma. The pneumocephalus was associated with Haemophilus influenzae otitis media and reactive meningitis in the absence of an intracranial brain abscess. Myeloma causes thinning of bone trabeculae and destructive lytic bone lesions. This can predispose to a risk of pathologic fractures and, in patients with skull vault involvement, to the rare complication of pneumocephalus. Therefore, pneumocephalus should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute headache in patients with multiple myeloma, especially those with skull vault involvement. Prompt computed tomography and liaison between the otolaryngology and neurology teams may assist in making an early diagnosis and preventing life-threatening intracranial complications.

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