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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Long-term Tympanic Membrane Pathology Dynamics and Spontaneous Healing in Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media

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BACKGROUND:: Children in the developing parts of the world have a high prevalence of chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). It is estimated that 65 to 330 million people worldwide have CSOM, yet very little is known about the natural course of the disease. The Inuit population of the Arctic regions is among those with the highest prevalences of CSOM. The aim of this study was to examine the long-term tympanic membrane changes since childhood among Inuit adolescents in Greenland and estimate the proportion of individuals affected by CSOM. METHODS:: Follow-up study (2009) on a population-based cohort of 591 children originally examined during 1993 to 1994 at 3 to 8 years of age. Follow-up was attempted among 348 individuals still living in the areas. Video otoscopy and tympanometry were used. Data on otologic disease, ear surgery, and antibiotic use for otitis media were collected from medical records. RESULTS:: Of 226 participants (65% of those contacted; median age, 22 years), 28 (12%) had present CSOM or had been surgically treated. Eleven were new cases of CSOM not seen between 1993 and 1994. Of those with CSOM in the initial study, 39% had healed spontaneously. The proportion of spontaneous healing was not influenced by the age at which CSOM was diagnosed in the initial study. Thirty-nine individuals (17%) had CSOM in either the initial study or at follow-up. Of these, 2 had never received antibiotic treatment for otitis media, and 15 had been treated less than 3 times. Eighty individuals (35%) at follow-up had CSOM, had undergone ear surgery, or had sequelae in the form of circular atrophy or myringosclerosis. CONCLUSIONS:: The proportion of spontaneous healing and the findings of new cases show that CSOM is a dynamic disease both on the individual as well as on the population level. Every third participant at follow-up had a perforation or sequelae from recurrent or long-lasting perforations, indicating a burden of disease from otitis media larger than what can be estimated in cross-sectional studies. There is a potential for increased treatment of otitis media in this population, which requires raised awareness of the disease in the population and the creation of guidelines customized to conditions in Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Volume31
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)139-144
ISSN0891-3668
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 33150463