Hemotympanum is the presence of blood in the middle ear cavity. It is usually secondary to trauma.

Typically on otoscopy a bulging red to purple to dark blue colored tympanic membrane is visible, color varying with age of the hemorrhage. 

The hemorrhage has usually bled from superficial branches of the external carotid artery, which provide the rich vasculature of the middle ear.

On CT or MRI there is evidence of opacification of the middle ear cleft by fluid/blood products.

Conservative management usually suffices. Treatment of the underlying cause may also be required.

Article information

rID: 62977
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Hematotympanum
  • Haematotympanum
  • Hemotympanum

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: temporal bone fractures
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