Which tests may be performed in the workup 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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Culture and sensitivity of a specimen from a fresh perforation or a tympanocentesis may be helpful.

Computed tomography (CT) may be necessary to determine if a complication has occurred; otherwise, imaging studies are unnecessary. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might be more appropriate for diagnosing suspected intracranial complications.

All children with acute otitis media (AOM) have conductive hearing loss associated with the middle ear effusion; consequently, testing in the acute phase is probably unhelpful. Tympanometry may assist in the diagnosis of middle ear effusion but, for the skilled pneumatic otoscopist, is seldom necessary.

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