The prechemotherapy era still remains vivid in the memory of the older physicians, particularly the otologists. Acute infections of the ear with mastoiditis and otitic complications were frequent, dreadful, and often tragic in their outcome. The patient suspected of having a complication of a middle-ear infection was examined carefully and repeatedly, both locally in the region of the involved ear and systemically, in order to detect early signs of spread beyond the middle ear. The otologist was skilled in ophthalmoscopy and neurologic diagnosis and utilized this knowledage.1 Diagnostic measures, such as spinal taps, blood cultures,2 Ottenberg differential blood cultures, cultures of ear discharge, and x-rays, were extensively used and their clinical implications clearly understood.3,4 Surgery was the accepted method of treatment and when properly performed was a lifesaving measure.
The introduction of the sulfonamides in 1935 and the antibiotics in 1942 brought about a dramatic change in
HARRY ROSENWASSER, NATHAN ADELMAN. Otitic Complications. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1957;65(3):225–234. doi:10.1001/archotol.1957.03830210023005