Management of otitis media using agency for health care policy and research guidelines

G. S. Hsu, S. C. Levine, G. S. Giebink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increased costs of managing otitis media and its complications may result from delays in diagnosis and treatment. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research developed guidelines to assist in the management of chronic otitis media with effusion. We examined the medical care adherence to Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines in 59 consecutive patients referred because of chronic otitis media with effusion and recurrent acute otitis media. Patient history and examination data were collected prospectively. In the group with chronic otitis media with effusion, the rate of adherence to Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines was 0%; in those with recurrent acute otitis media, adherence was 5%. Delayed referral occurred in 34% of patients; 25% of patients were referred early. The average duration of effusion in patients with chronic otitis media with effusion was 5.2 months; the duration of recurrent acute otitis media immediately before referral was 9.3 months. Eighteen patients (47%) in the chronic otitis media with effusion group had a history of recurrent chronic otitis media with effusion spanning an average of 22.7 months. On referral, hearing loss was discovered in 92% of all patients, and in 69% the tympanogram was flat. The complication and sequelae rate was 49.1%, and speech delay was the most frequent at 16.9%. We conclude that in our study patients there is a significant referral delay, long history of chronic otitis media with effusion in patients before referral, high rate of hearing loss, and high complication rate. Continued efforts should be directed toward improving education of all clinicians so that diagnostic tools and timely otolaryngologic referral are better used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume118
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

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