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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1997 Aug;106(8):619-23.

Role of adenoids in the pathogenesis of otitis media: a bacteriologic and immunohistochemical analysis.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Kantonsspital Luzern, Switzerland.


Adenoidectomy is frequently performed in children suffering from recurrent or chronic otitis media with effusion and is thought to produce a long-term effect in preventing further episodes of otitis media. Bacteriologic analysis of adenoids from 60 patients revealed a significantly elevated colonization rate of middle ear pathogens in children with a present or previous history of ear disease compared to children with adenoidal hypertrophy only. The predominant pathogen was nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis. Quantitative analysis did not demonstrate a bacterial overload in the otitis group. Lectin histochemical analysis of the adenoids revealed no significant differences between the three groups; nevertheless, colonization with S pneumoniae demonstrated an increased labeling pattern with succinylated wheat germ agglutinin, indicating the exposure of N-acetyl-glucosamine as part of its own receptor structure. On the basis of these results, we support the concept of adenoidectomy in order to remove a bacterial focus; however, we could not verify the hypothesis of bacterial overgrowth in the nasopharynx.

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