Complications of pediatric otitis media

Jennifer M. Lavin*, Thomas Rusher, Rahul K. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective Otitis media (OM) is a common diagnosis in the pediatric population that is usually managed on an outpatient basis. A small proportion of children are admitted due to a complex disease course. The aim of this study was to investigate the demographics of those patients and the resources utilized during their admissions. Study Design Retrospective review based on the 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database. Setting Nationwide administrative database. Subjects and Methods A review based on the 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database was conducted. Inclusion criteria were clinical modification codes for OM (ICD-9 code 382). Data recorded included patient demographics, concurrent discharge diagnosis codes, length of stay, total charges, and frequency of procedures performed. Results There were 61,783 (92,548 nationally weighted) admissions with OM, which were analyzed. The average age (SD) for the patients was 2.18 (3.49) years, and the average length of stay was 2.88 days. The majority (80.75%) of patients did not have to undergo a procedure during admission, whereas a small proportion (5.4%) underwent a major operating room procedure. There were 21 deaths recorded (0.03%). A diagnosis of mastoiditis, meningitis, venous sinus thrombosis, or intracranial abscess was associated with significantly increased length of stay, incidence of procedures, and total cost of admission. Conclusions Complicated pediatric OM remains of concern requiring prompt and thorough management. Major complications include mastoiditis and meningitis, and unfortunately, fatalities still occur in patients with OM. An understanding of resource utilization and socioeconomic implications can identify and drive opportunities for targeted quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • administrative database
  • complications
  • otitis media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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