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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Clear liquid draining from ears with pain

12/01/2009

Question:

I have two arterioveinous malformations in the left hemisphere of my brain. At the onset of symptoms my ears developed a very high pitch tinitus which also contains a low pitch bruit. Within two weeks of developing the tinitus the debilitating headaches started. I have had three vascular neurosurgeons (two angiograms; first in Aug. showed one large - 4.5 cm - AVM, the second Nov. 17 showed two AVM - one large one small) they have been deemed inoperable due to the extremely high risk of cranial bleeding due to the inability to use any type of embolisation to slow the blood flow before a craniotomy. Within the last month I have suffered intense pain in my ears followed by the presence of a clear fluid in the ears. It is generally a small amount (drop or two) and does not occur again for two or three hours. Is it possible that the increased pressure in my head due to the AVMs could be forcing cerebrospinal fluid out of my ears?

Answer:

Its very clear that with a complex medical condition such as yours, any symptoms like ear drainage warrants an evaluation by a neurotologist and your neurosurgeon. It is important to rule out unusual things such as a spinal fluid leak.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati