AOM in children


Otitis media is an inflammation in the middle ear. Subcategories include acute otitis media (AOM), recurrent AOM, and chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). AOM is the presence of middle-ear effusion in conjunction with rapid onset of one or more signs or symptoms of inflammation of the middle ear. AOM presents with systemic and local signs, and it has a rapid onset. The diagnosis is made on the basis of signs and symptoms, principally earache in the presence of a cloudy or bulging eardrum (and immobility of the eardrum if pneumatic otoscopy is performed). Erythema is a moderately useful sign for helping to establish the diagnosis. If the eardrum has a normal colour, then risk of AOM is low.[1] Uncomplicated AOM is limited to the middle-ear cleft.[2] The persistence of an effusion beyond 3 months without signs of infection defines otitis media with effusion (also known as 'glue ear'; see review on otitis media with effusion), which can arise as a consequence of AOM, but can also occur independently. CSOM is characterised by continuing inflammation in the middle ear causing discharge (otorrhoea) through a perforated tympanic membrane (see review on CSOM). This review deals only with AOM in children.

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