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Concept: Otitis externa


Background Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media. Methods We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin-clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms. Results Children who were treated with amoxicillin-clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001). Conclusions Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; number, NCT01511107 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Common cold, Otitis externa


Objective This update of the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation cerumen impaction clinical practice guideline provides evidence-based recommendations on managing cerumen impaction. Cerumen impaction is defined as an accumulation of cerumen that causes symptoms, prevents assessment of the ear, or both. Changes from the prior guideline include a consumer added to the development group; new evidence (3 guidelines, 5 systematic reviews, and 6 randomized controlled trials); enhanced information on patient education and counseling; a new algorithm to clarify action statement relationships; expanded action statement profiles to explicitly state quality improvement opportunities, confidence in the evidence, intentional vagueness, and differences of opinion; an enhanced external review process to include public comment and journal peer review; and 3 new key action statements on managing cerumen impaction that focus on primary prevention, contraindicated intervention, and referral and coordination of care. Purpose The primary purpose of this guideline is to help clinicians identify patients with cerumen impaction who may benefit from intervention and to promote evidence-based management. Another purpose of the guideline is to highlight needs and management options in special populations or in patients who have modifying factors. The guideline is intended for all clinicians who are likely to diagnose and manage patients with cerumen impaction, and it applies to any setting in which cerumen impaction would be identified, monitored, or managed. The guideline does not apply to patients with cerumen impaction associated with the following conditions: dermatologic diseases of the ear canal; recurrent otitis externa; keratosis obturans; prior radiation therapy affecting the ear; previous tympanoplasty/myringoplasty, canal wall down mastoidectomy, or other surgery affecting the ear canal. Key Action Statements The panel made a strong recommendation that clinicians should treat, or refer to a clinician who can treat, cerumen impaction, defined as an accumulation of cerumen that is associated with symptoms, prevents needed assessment of the ear, or both. The panel made the following recommendations: (1) Clinicians should explain proper ear hygiene to prevent cerumen impaction when patients have an accumulation of cerumen. (2) Clinicians should diagnose cerumen impaction when an accumulation of cerumen, as seen on otoscopy, is associated with symptoms, prevents needed assessment of the ear, or both. (3) Clinicians should assess the patient with cerumen impaction by history and/or physical examination for factors that modify management, such as ≥1 of the following: anticoagulant therapy, immunocompromised state, diabetes mellitus, prior radiation therapy to the head and neck, ear canal stenosis, exostoses, and nonintact tympanic membrane. (4) Clinicians should not routinely treat cerumen in patients who are asymptomatic and whose ears can be adequately examined. (5) Clinicians should identify patients with obstructing cerumen in the ear canal who may not be able to express symptoms (young children and cognitively impaired children and adults), and they should promptly evaluate the need for intervention. (6) Clinicians should perform otoscopy to detect the presence of cerumen in patients with hearing aids during a health care encounter. (7) Clinicians should treat, or refer to a clinician who can treat, the patient with cerumen impaction with an appropriate intervention, which may include ≥1 of the following: cerumenolytic agents, irrigation, or manual removal requiring instrumentation. (8) Clinicians should recommend against ear candling for treating or preventing cerumen impaction. (9) Clinicians should assess patients at the conclusion of in-office treatment of cerumen impaction and document the resolution of impaction. If the impaction is not resolved, the clinician should use additional treatment. If full or partial symptoms persist despite resolution of impaction, the clinician should evaluate the patient for alternative diagnoses. (10) Finally, if initial management is unsuccessful, clinicians should refer patients with persistent cerumen impaction to clinicians who have specialized equipment and training to clean and evaluate ear canals and tympanic membranes. The panel offered the following as options: (1) Clinicians may use cerumenolytic agents (including water or saline solution) in the management of cerumen impaction. (2) Clinicians may use irrigation in the management of cerumen impaction. (3) Clinicians may use manual removal requiring instrumentation in the management of cerumen impaction. (4) Last, clinicians may educate/counsel patients with cerumen impaction or excessive cerumen regarding control measures.

Concepts: Hospital, Evidence-based medicine, Auditory system, Ear, Otitis externa, Eardrum, Earwax, Ear pick


: We studied nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization in a cohort of children to determine the impact of viral upper respiratory infections (URIs) on nonpneumococcal α-hemolytic streptococci (AHS) and otopathogen colonization in association with acute otitis media (AOM).

Concepts: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Infection, Inflammations, Otitis media, Fatigue, Upper respiratory tract infection, Common cold, Otitis externa


Acute otitis media (AOM) is a polymicrobial disease, which usually occurs as a complication of viral upper respiratory tract infection (URI). While respiratory viruses alone may cause viral AOM, they increase the risk of bacterial middle ear infection and worsen clinical outcomes of bacterial AOM. URI viruses alter Eustachian tube (ET) function via decreased mucociliary action, altered mucus secretion and increased expression of inflammatory mediators among other mechanisms. Transient reduction in protective functions of the ET allows colonizing bacteria of the nasopharynx to ascend into the middle ear and cause AOM. Advances in research help us to better understand the host responses to viral URI, the mechanisms of viral-bacterial interactions in the nasopharynx and the development of AOM. In this review, we present current knowledge regarding viral-bacterial interactions in the pathogenesis and clinical course of AOM. We focus on the common respiratory viruses and their established role in AOM.

Concepts: Infection, Inflammations, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Respiratory system, Otitis media, Upper respiratory tract infection, Otitis externa


Proliferative and necrotising otitis externa is a rare and recently described disease affecting the ear canals and concave pinnae of kittens. This article describes a case of proliferative and necrotising otits externa in a young adult cat. In this case, the lesions did not affected the pinnae, but both ear canals were severely involved. Video-otoscopy revealed a digitally proliferative lesion, growing at 360° all around the ear canals for their entire length, without involvement of the middle ear. Histopathological examination confirmed the diagnosis, and the cat responded completely to a once-daily application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment diluted in mineral oil in the ear canals. Video-otoscopy findings, not described previously, were very peculiar and may help clinicians to diagnose this rare disease.

Concepts: Anatomical pathology, Auditory system, Otitis media, Ear, Cat, Otitis externa, Castration, Kitten


OBJECTIVE: Malignant external otitis is a severe infection of the external auditory canal and skull base, which most often affects elderly patients with diabetes mellitus. This disease is still a serious disease associated with cranial nerve complications and high morbidity-mortality rate. Malignant otitis externa requires urgent diagnosis and treatment. The most effective treatment is to control the diabetes and to fight infection with the proper antibiotic and debridement necrotic tissue; sometimes, aggressive surgical management is done. We present our 5-year institutional experience in the management of this disease. The aim of this study was to present our experience with the management of malignant otitis externa. METHODS: All patients' records with malignant otitis externa during the last 5 years (2007-2012) were retrieved and reviewed. Diabetes mellitus profile, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, ear swab for culture and sensitivity, computed tomography, and scintigraphy using technetium 99 and gallium 67 were investigated for all patients. RESULTS: During the last 5 years (2007-2012), 10 patients with the diagnosis of malignant otitis externa were admitted to our clinic for investigation and treatment. There were 7 men and 3 women, all between 64 and 83 years of age, with severe persistent otalgia, purulent otorrhea, granulation tissue in the external auditory canal, and diffuse external otitis, and there were 4 patients with facial nerve palsy. Nine patients were confirmed to have a diabetes, and 4 of these 9 cases just had chronic renal failure and underwent dialysis; the remainder 1 case had no diabetes mellitus, but with chronic renal failure on dialysis. Ear swabs for culture and sensitivity usually revealed Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Local debridement and local and systemic antibiotic treatment were sufficient to control the disease. Facial nerve decompression was done in facial paralysis. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was performed in facial nervy palsy cases. CONCLUSIONS: Malignant otitis externa is still a serious disease associated with cranial nerve complications and high morbidity-mortality rate. The most effective treatment is to control the diabetes and to fight infection with the proper antibiotic, debridement necrotic tissue, and sometimes aggressive surgical management. Monitoring of therapy response is done through normalization of erythrocyte sedimentation rate, control of diabetes mellitus, and improvement of computed tomography and radioisotope scanning.

Concepts: Oxygen, Renal failure, Medicine, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Cranial nerves, Ear, Otitis externa, Bell's palsy


BACKGROUND: Otitis media is endemic in remote Indigenous communities of Australia’s Northern Territory. Alloiococcus otitidis is an outer ear commensal and putative middle ear pathogen that has not previously been described in acute otitis media (AOM) in this population. The aims of this study were to determine the presence, antibiotic susceptibility and bacterial load of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs collected from Indigenous Australian children with AOM with perforation. METHODS: Paired nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs from 27 children with AOM with perforation were tested by A. otitidis quantitative PCR (qPCR). Positive swabs were cultured for 21 days. Total and respiratory pathogen bacterial loads in A. otitidis-positive swabs were determined by qPCR. RESULTS: A. otitidis was detected by qPCR in 11 ear discharge swabs from 10 of 27 (37%) children, but was not detected in paired nasopharyngeal swabs. A. otitidis was cultured from 5 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs from four children. All A. otitidis isolates had minimum inhibitory concentrations consistent with macrolide resistance. All A. otitidis qPCR-positive swabs were culture-positive for other bacteria. A. otitidis bacterial load ranged from 2.2 x 104-1.1 x 108 cells/swab (median 1.8 x 105 cells/swab). The relative abundance of A. otitidis ranged from 0.01% to 34% of the total bacterial load (median 0.7%). In 6 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs the A. otitidis relative abundance was <1% and in 5 of 11 it was between 2% and 34%. The A. otitidis bacterial load and relative abundance measures were comparable to that of Haemophilus influenzae. CONCLUSIONS: A. otitidis can be a dominant species in the bacterial communities present in the ear discharge of Indigenous children with AOM with perforation. The absence of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal swabs suggests the ear canal as the likely primary reservoir. The significance of A. otitidis at low relative abundance is unclear; however, at higher relative abundance it may be contributing to the associated inflammation. Further studies to better understand A. otitidis as a secondary otopathogen are warranted, particularly in populations at high-risk of progression to chronic suppurative otitis media and where macrolide therapies are being used.

Concepts: Auditory system, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Haemophilus influenzae, Otitis externa, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory


Tebipenem pivoxil, an oral carbapenem antibiotic for pediatric use, exhibits excellent clinical effects on acute otitis media (AOM). The present study was conducted to assess the pharmacokinetic profile of tebipenem in middle ear effusion and to examine the clinical efficacy of tebipenem pivoxil by calculating the values of the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic parameters (AUC/MIC, C (max)/MIC, and T > MIC) of tebipenem at the site of action. Twenty-three pediatric outpatients diagnosed with AOM were enrolled. Ear discharge or nasopharyngeal swabs collected before the onset of oral administration were used to conduct bacteriological examinations, and subjects were then treated by twice-a-day oral administration of tebipenem pivoxil 6 mg/kg. The clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae were obtained from 10 and 19 pediatric patients (8 overlapped), respectively. On day 2 of administration, blood and middle ear effusion were collected from 20 pediatric patients to measure plasma and middle ear concentrations of tebipenem. Consequently, the C (max) and the AUC(0-∞) in plasma were 5.3 ± 1.6 μg/ml (mean ± SD) and 7.9 ± 0.2 μg h/ml, respectively. The C (max) in middle ear effusion of tebipenem was 1.2 ± 0.1 μg/ml, exceeding its MIC for these pathogens. The ratio of AUC(0-∞) in middle ear effusion to AUC(0-∞) in plasma was 0.36, showing the good transfer of tebipenem into the effusion; this result corroborated the known high rate of clinical efficacy of tebipenem pivoxil for patients with AOM and the low incidence of recurrence in them as manifested by the healing rate of 94.1 % (16/17).

Concepts: Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Ratio, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Haemophilus influenzae, Otitis externa


Topical otic products form an integral part of the overall management of otitis externa. With an ever increasing array of ear drops and cleaners to choose from, appropriate selection of therapy can be difficult. The investigation of all cases of otitis externa should consider primary and secondary causes and predisposing and perpetuating factors. This article considers topical therapy under these same broad headings and discusses, through literature review, the various properties of the components of the ear cleaning solutions and drops.

Concepts: Otitis media, Ear, Primary education, Otitis externa, The Various, Peter Slabakov, Earwax, Ear drop


In this study, we examined the prevalence, pathology, and epidemiology of tumors in free-ranging island foxes occurring on three islands in the California Channel Islands, USA. We found a remarkably high prevalence of ceruminous gland tumors in endangered foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) occurring on Santa Catalina Island (SCA)-48.9% of the dead foxes examined from 2001-2008 had tumors in their ears, and tumors were found in 52.2% of randomly-selected mature (≥ 4 years) foxes captured in 2007-2008, representing one of the highest prevalences of tumors ever documented in a wildlife population. In contrast, no tumors were detected in foxes from San Nicolas Island or San Clemente Island, although ear mites (Otodectes cynotis), a predisposing factor for ceruminous gland tumors in dogs and cats, were highly prevalent on all three islands. On SCA, otitis externa secondary to ear mite infection was highly correlated with ceruminous gland hyperplasia (CGH), and tumors were significantly associated with the severity of CGH, ceruminous gland dysplasia, and age group (older foxes). We propose a conceptual model for the formation of ceruminous gland tumors in foxes on SCA that is based on persistent, ubiquitous infection with ear mites, and an innate, over exuberant inflammatory and hyperplastic response of SCA foxes to these mites. Foxes on SCA are now opportunistically treated with acaricides in an attempt to reduce mite infections and the morbidity and mortality associated with this highly prevalent tumor.

Concepts: Otitis externa, Channel Islands of California, Island Fox, Santa Catalina Island, California, Ear mite, San Nicolas Island, Avalon, California, Two Harbors, California