Paediatric chronic suppurative otitis media in the Free State Province: Clinical and audiological features

  • NJ Tiedt
  • IRT Butler
  • UM Hallbauer
  • MD Atkins
  • E Elliott
  • M Pieters
  • G Joubert
  • RY Seedat


Background. Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) is a chronic infection of the middle ear cleft. In sub-Saharan Africa >50% of cases occur in children <10 years of age.
Objectives. To describe the otological, audiological and bacteriological findings in children with CSOM.
Methods. We conducted a prospective study at the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Clinic at Universitas Academic Hospital between August 2009 and December 2010. We included all children with CSOM over this period. Patients underwent ENT and paediatric examination, and were tested for HIV. Pus swabs were taken after an ear toilet for routine microbiology, fungal and Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture. We performed audiological testing after the otorrhoea had resolved.
Results. Eighty-six children (113 ears) were included, with a median age of 4.6 years (range 1 - 12 years). The mean duration of otorrhoea was 161.7 weeks (range 4 - 572 weeks). Nine patients (10.5%) presented with coalescent mastoiditis and/or intracranial complications of CSOM. Of the 153 organisms identified, Gram-negative bacteria were present in 93 (82.3%) ears, with 94.8% of these being sensitive to quinolones. Only 1 case of tuberculous otitis media was identified. HIV infection was present in 54.6% of patients tested. There was a hearing loss in 44 (66.7%) of the tested affected ears.
Conclusions. There was a long delay between the onset of symptoms and accessing ENT services. Most cases of CSOM were due to quinolone-sensitive Gram-negative aerobes. There was a high prevalence of cholesteatoma, hearing loss and other complications in children in this study.

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eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135