Classification of Otitis Media

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Abstract

Objectives:

To review the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) system of classifying otitis media. To highlight the failings of this system and to propose an alternative (Read version 3).

Study Design:

An historical review of the literature and a presentation of two distinct classification schemes.

Methods:

The advantages and disadvantages of the alternative schemes are analyzed and an algorithm for the classification of otitis media is presented that describes the decisions taken to reach a diagnosis.

Results:

The proposed classification of otitis media as used in the Read Codes thesaurus is more logical than the ICD classification.

Conclusions:

The widely used ICD schema of otitis media fails to provide the otologist or general medical practitioner with a logically organized set of terms to describe inflammatory middle ear disease. This article proposes a simple, hierarchical classification that can be used by specialists, generalists and epidemiologists alike.

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