Shivani U. Shah-Becker, MD
Michele M. Carr, MD PhD DDS
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Educational Objective: At the conclusion of this presentation, the participants should be able to understand trends in the current treatment and referral patterns of acute otitis media and how they compare to national published guidelines. Objectives: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published an evidence based clinical practice guideline for the management of acute otitis media (AOM), most recently revised in 2013. This study aims to assess current practice patterns and how they compare to the published guideline. Study Design: Survey of practicing pediatricians. Methods: An 11 question survey addressing topics included in the 2013 AAP AOM guidelines was mailed to 196 practicing pediatricians. Statistical analysis was performed using chi square and ANOVA testing. Results: 76 (38%) completed surveys were returned. 75% of respondents were in group practice (non-academic) and 83% were in practice 11 years or more. 93% were members of the AAP. 46% of responding pediatricians use pneumatic otoscopy and/or tympanometry at least once a day to aid in the diagnosis of AOM, while 28% never do. 15% of respondents would choose close observation over antibiotics in a child under the age of 2 years with unilateral non-severe AOM while 50% would choose close observation in a child over age 2. 70% would make an appropriate referral to otolaryngology for recurrent AOM. No significant differences were noted in responses based on practice type, years in practice, or otolaryngology experience during residency training. Conclusions: Current pediatrician practice and referral patterns for AOM are not consistent with 2013 guidelines from the AAP. As consulting surgeons, otolaryngologists should have knowledge of management protocols in related specialties that can have an impact on their practice.