Infected cochlear implant after large-volume nasal irrigation

Rachel B. Cain, Devyani Lal, David M. Barrs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: A patient with a well-healed, functional cochlear implant (CI) experienced a CI and mastoid infection shortly after initiating large-volume nasal irrigations after sinus surgery. The goal of this report is to bring attention to a rare complication and to question if large-volume nasal irrigation is safe in CI recipients.

Patients: Single patient at a tertiary care hospital. Interventions: A CI recipient began using large-volume nasal irrigations with saline and budesonide after undergoing sinus surgery.

Main Outcome Measures: CI infection and mastoiditis.

Results: Two weeks after starting nasal irrigations, the patient presented with mastoiditis and CI infection. Mastoid and intranasal middle meatal cultures both grew Group A streptococcus.

Conclusion: Large-volume nasal irrigations may be related to our patient's CI infection, ultimately leading to explantation. Though a causal relationship cannot be definitively proven, awareness of this potential safety issue should be disseminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-13
Number of pages2
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015


  • Cochlear implant
  • Eustachian tube reflux
  • Infection
  • Large-volume irrigation
  • Saline nasal irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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