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Chronic Otitis Media
(TL005)

Introduction


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.

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