Otitis media (OM) is an inflammatory condition of the middle ear that is initiated by functional or mechanical obstruction of the eustachian tube, which leads to changing pressures of the gases in the middle ear. This subsequently allows fluid to flow into the middle ear followed by bacteria.
OM is a common childhood disease and is, in fact, the most frequent primary diagnosis at visits to US physicians by children younger than 15 years. OM primarily affects infants and preschoolers: almost all children experience one or more episodes of otitis media before age 6.
Acute otitis media (AOM) is defined as fluid in the middle ear accompanied by signs or symptoms of ear infection (bulging eardrum usually accompanied by pain; or perforated eardrum, often with drainage of purulent or infectious material). Otitis media with effusion (OME) is defined as fluid in the middle ear without signs or symptoms of ear infection.
OME is defined as chronic when middle ear effusion (MEE) has been present for at least 3 months. Chronic OME, which arises from a complex series of inflammatory events in the middle ear, affects approximately 5-30% of children. The duration of MEE is 16-20 weeks during the first 2 years of life.
Most cases of otitis media with effusion resolve spontaneously. Persistence of OME longer than 6 weeks and/or the development of hearing loss are then reevaluated to determine the need for further evaluation, antibiotic therapy, or other interventions, which may include surgery.
The Medifocus Guide on Chronic Otitis Media provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of otitis media?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing otitis media?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of otitis media?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of otitis media?
What treatment options are available for the management of otitis media?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in otitis media?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for otitis media?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about otitis media?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Use of ototopical antibiotics in treating 3 common ear diseases. Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. 2000
Nonimmune strategies for prevention of otitis media. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Conjugate pneumococcal vaccine and antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae: herd immunity and reduction of otitis morbidity. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Increasing antibiotic resistance among otitis media pathogens and their susceptibility to oral agents based on pharmacodynamic parameters. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Clinical course, complications and sequelae of acute otitis media. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Clinical epidemiology of otitis media. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2000
Otogenic intracranial inflammations: role of magnetic resonance imaging. Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2000
The judicious use of antibiotic agents in common childhood respiratory illness. Nursing Clinics of North America. 2000
Otitis media: To treat or not to treat?. Canadian Respiratory Journal. 1999
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