Background Otitis media (OM) is a common problem for primary care, pediatricians and otorhinolaryngologists.
The Aim of our work is to analyze the evolution of OM in children of the first 7 years of life after respiratory tract (RT) pathology.
Subjects Children from 1 to 7 years of life (2785) without evident OM after standard treatment of RT pathology - bronchitis, pneumonia; RT infection-prone children; chronic nasal breathing difficulties. Healthy children of the same age were included in the control group.
Outcome measures Screening tympanometry, otoscopy; audiology assessment and otomicroscopy for children who failed the screening tests, paranasal sinuses evaluation, otological follow up for children with middle ear pathology during 2 years.
Results We diagnosed OM in 68% of cases from RT pathology group and in 6% of cases from control group (p less than 0.001). Acute middle ear effusion was presented in 53%, chronic OM with effusion in 38%, recurrent OM in 9%. Chronic and recurrent OM was related with RT infection-prone children (p less than 0.01), age younger than 5 years of life (p less than 0.01) and sinusitis (p less than 0.01). Adhesive and chronic OM was recorded during otomicroscopy and surgery in 12% of cases.
Conclusions Screening for OM is important for children with recurrent and chronic RT pathology. These groups of patients need comprehensive diagnostic management and intensive treatment, including surgical one. In healthy children OM is a relative rare and temporary condition.
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