Which pneumatic otoscopy findings are characteristic of acute otitis media (AOM)?

Updated: Sep 25, 2019
  • Author: John D Donaldson, MD, FRCSC, FACS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Pneumatic otoscopy is the standard of care in the diagnosis of acute and chronic otitis media. The following findings may be found on examination in patients with AOM:

  • Signs of inflammation in the tympanic membrane

  • Bulging in the posterior quadrants of the tympanic membrane may bulge; scalded appearance of the superficial epithelial layer

  • Perforated tympanic membrane (most frequently in posterior or inferior quadrants)

  • Presence of an opaque serumlike exudate oozing through the entire tympanic membrane

  • Pain with/without pulsation of the otorrhea

  • Fever

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