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The aetiology of otitis media with effusion: A review

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeffrey Pearson


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Otitis media with effusion (OME) is the most common cause of deafness in children in the developed world. In this article we aim to present an overview of current research developments on the aetiology of OME and the resulting implications for treatment. In the model we describe, the primary event is inflammation of the middle ear mucosa, usually due to the presence of bacteria. This leads to the release of inflammatory mediators, which cause secretion of a mucin-rich effusion by up-regulating mucin genes. Prolonged stimulation of the inflammatory response and poor mucociliary clearance lead to persistence of the middle ear fluid, giving rise to the clinical presentation of OME. We describe OME in the following sequence: the initial production of the effusion, the composition of the effusion produced, and factors impairing clearance of the effusion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pearson JP; Kubba H; Birchall JP

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Otolaryngology and Allied Sciences

Year: 2000

Volume: 25

Issue: 3

Pages: 181-194

ISSN (print): 0307-7772

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2273


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2273.2000.00350.x

PubMed id: 10944048