Epistaxis as the only initial symptom in pediatric naso-orbital-ethmoid fracture complicated with meningitis

Erh Kang Chou, Chao I. Wu, Jack Chung Kai Yu, Sophia Chia Ning Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Epistaxis is a frequent finding in patients with facial trauma. Herein, we report an unusual presentation of pediatric naso-orbital-ethmoid (NOE) fracture with epistaxis as the only initial symptom. The course of the patient's condition was later complicated by meningitis, related in part to the delay in diagnosis. A 3-year-old girl with preexisting upper respiratory symptoms was involved in a traffic accident, sustaining blunt trauma to the right side of her face. During the initial examination, only right-sided epistaxis was noted. Five days later, she developed febrile convulsion and was admitted to the intensive care unit with other signs of meningitis such as mental status change and neck stiffness. Her craniofacial computed tomographic scan showed a right-sided NOE fracture with minimal displacement and without dura tear. The cerebrospinal fluid culture grew Streptococcus pneumoniae, which may be due to ascending infection as a result of cribriform plate fracture. Intravenous antibiotic therapy was initiated with good response, and she was discharged from the hospital after 2 weeks. The presence of epistaxis and periorbital bruise, together with other symptoms and signs, helps in the identification of NOE and cribriform plate fracture. A high index of suspicion with repetitive computed tomographic scans is necessary to achieve correct early diagnosis. Parental antibiotic therapy is indicated if ascending cerebrospinal fluid infection develops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-955
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Epistaxis
  • Meningitis
  • NOE fracture
  • Naso-orbital-ethmoid fracture
  • Pediatric facial bone fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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