Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Eustachian tube


The development of minimally invasive procedures such as the balloon dilation Eustachian tuboplasty (BET) is an alternative to the grommet tympanum membrane. BET is applied in the cases where, after elimination of all factors influencing the ET and middle ear functioning, no sufficient improvement is observed. The aim of this study was to present the therapeutic benefits of the BET method in the treatment of ETD caused by disorders in the middle ear ventilation. The BET procedure was offered to four patients (3 men and 1 woman) after subjective, physical, otorhinolaryngological and audiometric examinations including pure tone audiometry, tympanometry and pressure-swallow test. As the method was novel, preinterventional CT angiography of the carotid arteries was performed in all patients. Any complications were noticed during and after the procedure (bleeding or damage of regional mucosa) in any patients. Our clinical studies assessed the feasibility and safety of the BET during a short-term period-only a 6-week observation. Although patients revealed a significant improvement of ET score, longer long-term studies are necessary to determine whether this method will demonstrate lasting benefits and safety in the treatment of chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction. In other investigations, improvement was found to be time dependent.

Concepts: Scientific method, Auditory system, Common carotid artery, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Patulous Eustachian tube


Background Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media. Methods We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin-clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms. Results Children who were treated with amoxicillin-clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001). Conclusions Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; number, NCT01511107 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Common cold, Otitis externa


Acute otitis media (AOM) is among the most common pediatric diseases, and the most frequent reason for antibiotic treatment in children. Risk of AOM is dependent on environmental and host factors, as well as a significant genetic component. We identify genome-wide significance at a locus on 6q25.3 (rs2932989, Pmeta=2.15 × 10(-09)), and show that the associated variants are correlated with the methylation status of the FNDC1 gene (cg05678571, P=1.43 × 10(-06)), and further show it is an eQTL for FNDC1 (P=9.3 × 10(-05)). The mouse homologue, Fndc1, is expressed in middle ear tissue and its expression is upregulated upon lipopolysaccharide treatment. In this first GWAS of AOM and the largest OM genetic study to date, we identify the first genome-wide significant locus associated with AOM.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Bacteria, Genome-wide association study, Eustachian tube, Otitis media


Sufficient diagnostic tools and effective therapies for chronic obstructive eustachian tube dysfunction are lacking.

Concepts: Eustachian tube, Patulous Eustachian tube


Patulous eustachian tube remains a challenging management problem in otolaryngology. The autophony experienced by this patient population can be severe, and as yet no reliable surgical method exists to reduce or eliminate this annoying symptom. Our objective was to develop a novel endoscopic technique to assist these patients.

Concepts: Auditory system, Eustachian tube, Superior canal dehiscence, Patulous Eustachian tube, Autophony


Acute otitis media (AOM) is a polymicrobial disease, which usually occurs as a complication of viral upper respiratory tract infection (URI). While respiratory viruses alone may cause viral AOM, they increase the risk of bacterial middle ear infection and worsen clinical outcomes of bacterial AOM. URI viruses alter Eustachian tube (ET) function via decreased mucociliary action, altered mucus secretion and increased expression of inflammatory mediators among other mechanisms. Transient reduction in protective functions of the ET allows colonizing bacteria of the nasopharynx to ascend into the middle ear and cause AOM. Advances in research help us to better understand the host responses to viral URI, the mechanisms of viral-bacterial interactions in the nasopharynx and the development of AOM. In this review, we present current knowledge regarding viral-bacterial interactions in the pathogenesis and clinical course of AOM. We focus on the common respiratory viruses and their established role in AOM.

Concepts: Infection, Inflammations, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Respiratory system, Otitis media, Upper respiratory tract infection, Otitis externa


Eustachian tube dysfunction is a common problem and transnasal endoscopic balloon dilation of the Eustachian tube (ET) is a new surgical technique. The goal of this study is to review the evolution of this novel technique and study the preliminary outcomes.

Concepts: Eustachian tube, Patulous Eustachian tube


Intranasal medication for eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is an established practice in otolaryngology through the effects of steroids, decongestants, antihistamines or a combination of the above in reducing tubal oedema. The author has previously argued that a double-blind, randomised control trial would be helpful in determining effectiveness of treatment, if a standardised head position, chiefly Mygind or Ragan, was adopted to maximise intranasal drop delivery into the eustachian tube orifice. One recent paper suggests that intranasal treatment is not very effective, but ultimately does not state whether a standardised head position was adopted. Although a large body of evidence supports the hypothesis that the nasal passages are the route to middle ear disease, there is as yet no paper that has been published that has specifically addressed this issue, therefore the author must conclude that evidence to support intranasal treatment for ETD is still lacking and further research is desirable.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Auditory system, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Pseudoephedrine


BACKGROUND: Otitis media is endemic in remote Indigenous communities of Australia’s Northern Territory. Alloiococcus otitidis is an outer ear commensal and putative middle ear pathogen that has not previously been described in acute otitis media (AOM) in this population. The aims of this study were to determine the presence, antibiotic susceptibility and bacterial load of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs collected from Indigenous Australian children with AOM with perforation. METHODS: Paired nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs from 27 children with AOM with perforation were tested by A. otitidis quantitative PCR (qPCR). Positive swabs were cultured for 21 days. Total and respiratory pathogen bacterial loads in A. otitidis-positive swabs were determined by qPCR. RESULTS: A. otitidis was detected by qPCR in 11 ear discharge swabs from 10 of 27 (37%) children, but was not detected in paired nasopharyngeal swabs. A. otitidis was cultured from 5 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs from four children. All A. otitidis isolates had minimum inhibitory concentrations consistent with macrolide resistance. All A. otitidis qPCR-positive swabs were culture-positive for other bacteria. A. otitidis bacterial load ranged from 2.2 x 104-1.1 x 108 cells/swab (median 1.8 x 105 cells/swab). The relative abundance of A. otitidis ranged from 0.01% to 34% of the total bacterial load (median 0.7%). In 6 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs the A. otitidis relative abundance was <1% and in 5 of 11 it was between 2% and 34%. The A. otitidis bacterial load and relative abundance measures were comparable to that of Haemophilus influenzae. CONCLUSIONS: A. otitidis can be a dominant species in the bacterial communities present in the ear discharge of Indigenous children with AOM with perforation. The absence of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal swabs suggests the ear canal as the likely primary reservoir. The significance of A. otitidis at low relative abundance is unclear; however, at higher relative abundance it may be contributing to the associated inflammation. Further studies to better understand A. otitidis as a secondary otopathogen are warranted, particularly in populations at high-risk of progression to chronic suppurative otitis media and where macrolide therapies are being used.

Concepts: Auditory system, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Haemophilus influenzae, Otitis externa, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory


Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is common, and implicated in persistent middle ear disease. Recent studies suggest the promise of balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube to modify local anatomy and physiology, restoring normal function.

Concepts: Biology, Auditory system, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Anatomy, Otitis media, Ear, Patulous Eustachian tube