otitis media clinical practice guidelines and current management
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Otitis Media: Clinical Practice Guidelines and Current Management. Tamekia L. Wakefield, MD Pediatric Otolaryngologist ENT & Allergy Associates, LLP. Tamekia Wakefield, MD is a member of the speakers bureau for Alcon. The makers of Ciprodex otic. Disclosures:. Otitis Media.

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otitis media clinical practice guidelines and current management

Otitis Media: Clinical Practice Guidelines and Current Management

Tamekia L. Wakefield, MD

Pediatric Otolaryngologist

ENT & Allergy Associates, LLP

otitis media
Otitis Media

$4 billion in combined direct and indirect cost annually

2.2 million episodes diagnosed annually

Most common reason for visit to pediatrician

Tympanostomy tube placement is 2nd most common surgical procedure in children

  • OME: the presence of fluid in the middle ear without acute signs or symptoms
  • AOM: the presence of fluid in the middle ear with the acute onset of signs and symptoms of middle ear inflammation.
microbiology virology
  • S. pneumoniae - 30-35%
  • H. influenzae - 20-25%
  • M. catarrhalis - 10-15%
  • Group A strep - 2-4%
  • Infants with higher incidence of gram negative bacilli
  • RSV - 74% of middle ear isolates
  • Rhinovirus
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Influenza virus
  • Risk factors:
    • Daycare
    • Tobacco smoke exposure
    • Inverse relationship between length of breastfeeding and number of AOM episodes
acute otitis media
Acute otitis media
  • Clinical Indicators: Myringotomy and Tubes:
    • Severe acute otitis media (myringotomy)
    • Poor response (describe) to antibiotic for otitis media (myringotomy or tube)
    • Impending mastoiditis or intra-cranial complication due to otitis media (myringotomy)
    • Recurrent episodes of acute otitis media (more than 3 episodes in 6 months or more than 4 episodes in 12 months) (tympanostomy tube)
ome etiology
OME Etiology
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Post-AOM
natural history
Natural history
  • Most episodes resolve spontaneously within 3 months
  • 30%-40% Recurrent OME
  • 5%-10% Persistent OME > 1 year
why do we need cpg
Why do we need CPG?
  • High prevalence of OME
  • Difficulties in diagnosis and assessing duration
  • Increased risk of CHL
  • Potential impact on language and cognition
  • Significant practice variations in management

Clinicians should use pneumatic otoscopy as the primary diagnostic method for OME. OME should be distinguished from AOM. Strong recommendation

Pneumatic otoscopy is gold standard




Tympanic membrane appearance

Sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 80% versus myringotomy

Readily available, cost effective and accurate in experienced hands

  • Tympanometry can be used to confirm diagnosis. Option
    • When diagnosis is uncertain, consider tympanometry
      • Cost associated with equipment
      • Painless
      • Reliable for ages 4 months or older
  • Population-based screening programs for OME are not recommended in healthy, asymptomatic children. Recommendation Against
    • Highly prevalent in young children. 15%-40% point prevalence in healthy children under 5 yr
    • No influence on short-term language outcomes
    • No benefit from treatment that exceeds the favorable natural history of the disease
    • Risk of inaccurate diagnoses, overtreatment, parental anxiety, and increased cost
  • Clinicians should document the laterality, duration of effusion, and presence and severity of associated symptoms at each assessment of the child with OME. Recommendation
    • Medical decision making depends on these features
    • 40%-50% of OME cases no symptoms
    • Preponderance of benefit over harm
at risk child
At risk child
  • Clinicians should distinguish the child with OME who is at risk for speech, language, or learning problems from other children with OME, and should more promptly evaluate hearing, speech, language, and need for intervention. Recommendation
    • Permanent hearing loss
    • Speech and language delay or disorder
    • Autism-spectrum disorder/PDD
    • Syndromes with cognitive, speech, and language delays
    • Blindness
    • Cleft Palate
    • Developmental delay
watchful waiting
Watchful waiting
  • Clinicians should manage the child with OME who is not at risk with watchful waiting for 3 months from the date effusion onset (if known) or from the date of diagnosis (if onset is unknown). Recommendation
    • OME is usually self-limited
    • 75%-90% of OME after AOM resolves spontaneously by 3 months
    • Waiting results in little harm to child
    • Optimize listening and learning environment until effusion resolves
  • Antihistamines and decongestants are ineffective for OME and are not recommended for treatment. Antimicrobials and corticosteroids do no have long-term efficacy and are not recommended for routine management. Recommendation Against
    • Short-term, small magnitude benefits
    • Significant adverse effects
hearing and language
Hearing and language
  • Hearing testing is recommended when OME persists for 3 months or longer, or at any time that language delay, learning problems, or a significant hearing loss is suspected in a child with OME. Language testing should be conducted for children with hearing loss. Recommendation
hearing and language1
Hearing and language
  • HL may impair early language acquisition
  • Extended periods of CHL may result in developmental and academic sequelae
  • Early language delays are associated with later delays in reading and writing.
  • Children with persistent OME who are not at risk should be reexamined at 3- to 6-month intervals until the effusion is no longer present, significant hearing loss is identified, or structural abnormalities of the TM or middle ear are suspected. Recommendation
    • Resolution rates decrease the longer the effusion has been present
    • Risk factors for non-resolution:
      • Summer or fall onset
      • HL>30dB
      • H/O prior tympanostomy tubes
      • Not having had an adenoidectomy
  • When children with OME are referred by the primary care clinician for evaluation by an otolaryngologist, audiologist, or speech-language pathologist, the referring clinician should document the effusion duration and specific reason for referral (evaluation vs. surgery), and provide additional relevant information such as history of AOM and developmental status of the child. Option
  • When a child becomes a surgical candidate, tympanostomy tube insertion is the preferred initial procedure; adenoidectomy should not be performed unless a distinct indication exists (nasal obstruction, chronic adenoiditis). Repeat surgery consists of adenoidectomy plus myringotomy, with or without tube insertion. Tonsillectomy alone or myringotomy alone should not be used to treat OME. Recommendation
  • OME > 4 months with persistent hearing loss
  • Recurrent or persistent OME in at risk child
  • OME with structural damage to TM or ME
Alternative Medicine

No recommendation:

Limited evidence

Few studies

Medications are unregulated

Allergy Management

No recommendation:

Few studies

  • Inappropriate antibiotic treatment of OM
    • Multidrug-resistant strains
    • Drug side effects
    • Parental/caregiver confusion
  • Communities of sessile bacteria embedded in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances of their own synthesis that adhere to a foreign body or a mucosal surface
  • Chronic ear infections or persistent effusion in the middle ear are biofilm related
  • Unable to culture with traditional methods
  • Traditional antibiotics are relatively ineffective for eradicating biofilm infection
  • Higher doses of antibiotics required to treat
  • Macrolides (clarithromycin/erythromycin)
  • Physical disruption is beneficial
  • Non-antibiotic therapies may be more successful
acute otitis media with tubes
Acute otitis media with tubes
  • Diagnosis
    • Acute purulent otorrhea1
      • Commonly occurs after insertion of tympanostomy tubes
  • Risk Factor
    • Occurs more frequently in children with upper respiratory infections2,3
  • Ototopical antibiotics are appropriate therapy in uncomplicated cases
    • Fluoroquinolones
  • Adjunctive systemic antibiotics may be used
    • When infection has spread beyond middle ear or external ear canal
    • With lack of adherence to ototopical therapy
    • When ototopical treatment fails (after 7-10 days)
    • In children with associated streptococcal pharyngitis
  • Special populations (e.g. immunocompromised patients) require additional consideration
  • High prevalence
  • Accurate diagnosis
  • At risk children
  • Hearing loss
  • Speech and language assessment
  • Antibiotic use
  • Surgery
  • Referral