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Complications of Acute Otitis Media Becoming More Common

Frequency of mastoiditis and mastoid abscesses among children appears to be increasing

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- In children with acute otitis media, the frequency of acute mastoiditis, as well as mastoid subperiosteal abscesses, is apparently increasing over time, according to a study in the July issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Marc C. Thorne, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a study of 87 children with acute mastoiditis, defined as inflammation of the middle ear space and signs of mastoid inflammation or evidence of sigmoid sinus thrombosis, abscess formation, or destruction of mastoid air cells.

The study spanned an eight-year period, from January 2000 to December 2007, and during that time cases of acute mastoiditis and mastoid subperiosteal abscess became more frequent, the researchers found. The increase remained even after adjusting for case volume.

"This increase in cases of acute mastoiditis with subperiosteal abscess does not appear to be fully explained by changes in practice volume, referral patterns, antibiotic therapy, and antibiotic resistance, suggesting a possible increase in incidence," the authors write. "However, population-based studies that include appropriate data for calculation of person-time at risk will be necessary to definitively determine if the incidence of suppurative complications of acute otitis media is on the rise."

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