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JAMA. 2010 Nov 17;304(19):2161-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.1651.

Diagnosis, microbial epidemiology, and antibiotic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a systematic review.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Mattel Children's Hospital, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA. tcoker@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common condition for which antibiotics are prescribed for US children; however, wide variation exists in diagnosis and treatment.

OBJECTIVES:

To perform a systematic review on AOM diagnosis, treatment, and the association of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) use with AOM microbiology.

DATA SOURCES:

PubMed, Cochrane Databases, and Web of Science, searched to identify articles published from January 1999 through July 2010.

STUDY SELECTION:

Diagnostic studies with a criterion standard, observational studies and randomized controlled trials comparing AOM microbiology with and without PCV7, and randomized controlled trials assessing antibiotic treatment.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Independent article review and study quality assessment by 2 investigators with consensus resolution of discrepancies.

RESULTS:

Of 8945 citations screened, 135 were included. Meta-analysis was performed for comparisons with 3 or more trials. Few studies examined diagnosis; otoscopic findings of tympanic membrane bulging (positive likelihood ratio, 51 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 36-73]) and redness (positive likelihood ratio, 8.4 [95% CI, 7-11]) were associated with accurate diagnosis. In the few available studies, prevalence of Streptococcus pneumoniae decreased (eg, 33%-48% vs 23%-31% of AOM isolates), while that of Haemophilus influenzae increased (41%-43% vs 56%-57%) pre- vs post-PCV7. Short-term clinical success was higher for immediate use of ampicillin or amoxicillin vs placebo (73% vs 60%; pooled rate difference, 12% [95% CI, 5%-18%]; number needed to treat, 9 [95% CI, 6-20]), while increasing the rate of rash or diarrhea by 3% to 5%. Two of 4 studies showed greater clinical success for immediate vs delayed antibiotics (95% vs 80%; rate difference, 15% [95% CI, 6%-24%] and 86% vs 70%; rate difference, 16% [95% CI, 6%-26%]). Data are absent on long-term effects on antimicrobial resistance. Meta-analyses in general showed no significant differences in antibiotic comparative effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

Otoscopic findings are critical to accurate AOM diagnosis. AOM microbiology has changed with use of PCV7. Antibiotics are modestly more effective than no treatment but cause adverse effects in 4% to 10% of children. Most antibiotics have comparable clinical success.

Comment in

PMID:
21081729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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