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Middle ear effusion among children diagnosed and treated actively for acute otitis media

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We assessed the point prevalence of middle ear effusion among day care children in an area where acute otitis media is diagnosed, treated and followed actively. Minitympanometry was used to screen 850 day care centre attendants aged 0.6 to 6.9 years (mean 3.7 years). Tympanometry was performed by two trained nurses at the day care centres and pneumatic otoscopy was done by a paediatrician when effusion was suspected. We found 60 (7.1%) children to have middle ear effusion, which was bilateral in 23 (2.7%) cases. Of the children with bilateral effusion 13 had respiratory symptoms fulfilling the criteria of acute otitis media, 8 of them had experienced acute otitis media during the past 3 weeks and were diagnosed to have otitis media with effusion, and only 2 (0.2%) were asymptomatic children not identified earlier. Of the 37 (4.4%) children with unilateral effusion, 14 had acute otitis media and 23 otitis media with effusion, of whom 12 children (1.4%) had not been identified earlier. The point prevalence of acute otitis media was 3.2% and that of otitis media with effusion 3.9%.

Conclusion We conclude that active diagnosis and treatment of acute otitis media practically eliminates such middle ear effusion that could cause significant hearing impairment.

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Received: 10 November 1997 / Accepted: 31 January 1998

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Kontiokari, T., Niemelä, M. & Uhari, M. Middle ear effusion among children diagnosed and treated actively for acute otitis media. Eur J Pediatr 157, 731–734 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004310050924

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  • Key words Acute otitis media
  • Middle ear effusion
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Tympanometry
  • Children