Otitis Media with Effusion: Our National Practice
Otitis media with effusion (OME) is the focus of an updated multidisciplinary clinical practice guideline published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Based on data from clinical trials, the guideline recommends against using antihistamines, antibiotics, oral steroids, and intranasal steroids for OME. To understand practice patterns related to these guidelines, we assessed nationally representative data. Despite controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and other potential confounders individualized for each medication class, an increased risk of antihistamine (odds ratio [OR], 3.53), antibiotic (OR, 4.31), and intranasal steroid administration (OR, 3.58) was seen when OME was diagnosed. These analyses have demonstrated opportunities for quality improvement in the care of patients with OME, quantifying gaps in practice relevant to proposed quality measures. Education targeted according to practice setting may facilitate appropriate therapy and/or referral for definitive intervention in children with OME.