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A 6-year-old boy presented with ear ache and mild fever. The assessing registrar confidently made the assertion that the diagnosis could not be otitis media as he has read that the presence of wax excludes this. You wonder if this is true.
Structured clinical question
In children [population], does the clinical finding of ear wax [intervention] predict the absence of otitis media [outcome]?
Search strategy and outcome
PubMed – advanced search criteria: otitis media, children, ear wax and/or cerumen and diagnosis. Thirty two results were found. The titles and abstracts were reviewed and two relevant studies were found.1 2
Ovid - MEDLINE/EMBASE – advanced search criteria: otitis media, children, ear wax and/or cerumen. Seventeen results were found. The titles and abstracts were reviewed and one relevant study was found (this was the same as the study found in the PubMed search).2
A further search for case reports was unsuccessful. Ovid: MEDLINE/EMBASE database – search terms: otitis media, ear …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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