Acute Otitis Media in Children With Bronchiolitis

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The study group consisted of children aged 2 to 24 months with bronchiolitis. In patients with AOM at entry, nasal washings for RSV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were obtained, and Gram-stained smear, bacterial culture, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect the presence of RSV were performed on middle-ear aspirates. Patients without AOM were reevaluated at 48 to 72 hours, 8 to 10 days, and 18 to 22 days.


Forty-two children with bronchiolitis were enrolled. Sixty-two percent had AOM at entry or developed AOM within 10 days. An additional 24% had or eventually developed otitis media with effusion. Only 14% remained free of both AOM and otitis media with effusion throughout the 3-week observation period. All patients with AOM had 1 or more bacterial pathogens isolated from one or both middle-ear aspirates. Of 33 middle-ear aspirates, Streptococcus pneumoniae was isolated in 15, Haemophilus influenzae in 8, Moraxella catarrhalis in 8, and Staphylococcus aureus in 2. Two middle-ear aspirates yielded 2 pathogens each; 2 aspirates had no growth. RSV was identified in 17 (71%) of 24 patients with AOM.


Bacterial AOM is a complication in most children with bronchiolitis. Accordingly, in patients with bronchiolitis and associated AOM, antimicrobial treatment is indicated. Pediatrics 1998;101:617-619.

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