A summary of practical treatment plans for the management of childhood otitis media in populations at high risk of CSOM

DiagnosisManagement
1. Aerated Middle Ear (Normal) 1. Family Education: Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.
2. Episodic OME
Fluid in middle ear without symptoms.
1. Family Education: Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (usually around 25dB) and the need to re-examine the child in 3 months time (see chronic OME below). Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.
3. Persistent OME
Fluid in the middle ear without any symptoms for greater than 3 months.
1. Family Education: Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (usually around 25dB) and the need to organise a hearing test if chronic ear disease affects both ears. Treatment will be determined by the level of hearing loss in the better hearing ear. Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.

2. Medical: Review every 3 months. Recommend referral for grommet surgery if OME persists for >3months and hearing loss >35dB, or if severe retraction of the eardrum is present (i.e. retraction pocket or atelectasis).

3. Audiological: Monitor for delay in language development. If hearing loss is 20-35dB, the child will benefit from classroom sound-field amplification and enhanced communication strategies (e.g. get close, speak clearly, check understanding etc). If hearing loss >35dB, also refer for hearing aids.
4. AOMwoP (Acute Otitis Media)
Bulging of the eardrum or ear pain plus fluid in the middle ear.
1. Family Education: Emphasise the need for adherence to antibiotics to prevent CSOM. Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (usually around 25dB). Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.

2. Medical: Recommend at least 7 days amoxycillin (50mg/kg/day). Review at 4-7 days. If bulging persists, continue for further 7 days (90mg/kg/day). [If AOM associated with diarrhoea or pneumonia can use daily IM procaine penicillin 50mg/kg/day until clinically improved, then complete course with amoxycillin. If AOM associated with trachoma, can use single dose of 30mg/kg azithromycin. It should be noted that azithromycin is not currently licensed for use in children under six months of age].
5. AOMwiP
Discharge through a perforation.
1. Family Education: Emphasise the need to take medications as prescribed to prevent CSOM. Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (usually around 35dB). Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if the ear discharge does not improve.

2. Medical: Recommend 14 days amoxycillin (50-90mg/kg/day). Review at 4-7 days, and again at 10-14 days. Continue antibiotics until discharge and eardrum bulging has resolved. [If AOM with perforation associated with diarrhoea or pneumonia can use daily IM procaine penicillin as above.]

Persistent perforation despite amoxycillin 90mg/kg/day: change to amoxycillin-clavulanate (90mg/kg/day) for further 14-28 days and introduce cleaning of discharge followed by ciprofloxacin ear drops (2-5 drops 2-4 times a day). Continue to review weekly. [If child develops diarrhoea or pneumonia can use daily IM procaine penicillin 100mg/kg/day until clinically improved, then complete course with oral antibiotics.]
6. Recurrent AOM
3 or more episodes of AOM in the previous 6 months or 4 or more episodes in the last 12 months.
1. Family Education: Emphasise the need to take medications as prescribed. Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.

2. Medical: Families of infants should be given the option of treatment with daily amoxycillin for a period of 3-6 months (25-50mg/kg 1-2 times daily). This will reduce further episodes of AOM by about 50% and risk of perforation by about 40%.
7. CSOM
Persistent discharge with an easily visible TM perforation.
1. Family Education: Emphasise the need to take medications as prescribed and that treatment may need to continue for a long time. Explain that only profuse discharge will be visible outside of the ear canal. Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if the ear discharge gets worse.

2. Medical: Clean the ear canal with dry mopping, syringing or suction. Dry and add ciprofloxacin eardrops (2-5 drops 2-4 times a day). Continue until ear has been dry >3 days. Review 1-2 times weekly. Prolonged periods of the treatment may be necessary. Treatment is successful in up to 50% of children in some remote settings. If no improvement despite good compliance, consider admission to hospital for IV antibiotic treatment.

3. Audiological: Hearing loss usually around 35dB. Monitor for delay in language development. If hearing loss is 20-35dB the child will benefit from classroom sound-field amplification and enhanced communication strategies. If hearing loss >35dB, also refer for hearing aids.
8. Dry Perforation
Perforation without any discharge for less than 3 months.
1. Family Education: Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (varies from normal if perforation small to >40dB if very large) and the need to re-examine the child in 3 months time (see chronic dry perforation below). Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of presenting early to the health centre if their child develops ear discharge.
9. Chronic Dry Perforation
Perforation without any signs of discharge for greater than 3 months
1. Family Education: Advise the family about the likely hearing loss (varies from normal if perforation small to >40dB if very large) and the need to organise a hearing test. Treatment will be influenced by the level of hearing loss in the better hearing ear. Discuss the normal language development milestones and the importance of going to the health centre if the child develops ear discharge.

2. Medical: If hearing loss >35dB or having frequent infections with discharge, refer to ENT surgeon for consideration of eardrum repair.

3. Audiological: Monitor for delay in language development. If hearing loss is 20-35dB, the child will benefit from classroom sound-field amplification and enhanced communication strategies. If hearing loss >35dB, refer for hearing aids.