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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Nov;141(5):567-71. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2009.08.010.

Biofilm presence in humans with chronic suppurative otitis media.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9035, USA.



To study the presence of biofilm formation in humans with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM).


Cross-sectional study.


Tertiary academic hospital.


Patients undergoing middle ear surgery between July 2006 and March 2008. Tissue samples were obtained from 25 patients, of which 20 specimens were successfully processed for this study. The remaining samples were not analyzed due to sample damage or loss during preparation. Of the 20 specimens studied, 10 were harvested as the experimental group from patients with CSOM and the other 10 harvested as controls from patients undergoing otologic surgery for acoustic neuroma, cochlear implant, or routine tympanoplasty. Ages ranged from 26 to 74 years (mean 45 yrs). Male-to-female ratio was 2:3. Scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to identify the presence of biofilms. Live-dead staining was used to assess whether bacteria present were viable. The outcome measured was the presence of adherent biofilms on middle ear mucosa.


Biofilms were present in six of 10 samples (60%) from the CSOM group, but only in one of 10 control samples (10%). Comparative analysis revealed a statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) in the presence of biofilms in specimens from the CSOM group versus the control group.


Biofilms were statistically more common in patients with CSOM compared with control patients.

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