May present with otalgia, irritability, decreased hearing, anorexia, vomiting, or fever, usually in the presence of an ongoing viral respiratory infection.
Physical examination will reveal a bulging, opacified tympanic membrane with decreased mobility. The membrane may be white, yellow, pink, or red.
Diagnosis is generally made with conventional otoscopy. Additional tests might include pneumatic otoscopy or tympanometry to confirm the presence of an effusion.
Treatment includes pain control with analgesics and might include antibiotics.
Complications include perforation of the tympanic membrane and, rarely, mastoiditis, seventh cranial nerve palsy, or sigmoid sinus thrombosis.
Acute otitis media (AOM) is an infection involving the middle ear space and is a common complication of viral respiratory illnesses.
History and exam
Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville PLC
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
University of Virginia Health System
CEA declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr Carlos E. Armengol would like to gratefully acknowledge the late Professor J. Owen Hendley, a previous contributor to this monograph. JOH declared that he had no competing interests.
Istanbul Training and Research Hospital
OY is an author of a reference cited in this monograph.
Retired consultant paediatric otolaryngologist
Formerly at Sheffield Children's Hospital
PB declares that he has no competing interests.
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Georgetown University and George Washington University School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics
Medical College of Virginia
University of Virginia Medical College
At the time of the peer review, RS declared no competing interests. We have been informed that Dr Schwartz is now deceased.
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