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Keywords:

  • Absorbance;
  • admittance;
  • clinical decision theory;
  • effusion;
  • myringotomy;
  • pneumatic otoscopy;
  • receiver operating characteristic curve;
  • tympanometry;
  • wideband acoustic transfer functions;
  • Level of Evidence: 2c.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Compare the accuracy of wideband acoustic transfer functions (WATFs) measured in the ear canal at ambient pressure to methods currently recommended by clinical guidelines for predicting middle-ear effusion (MEE).

Study Design:

Cross-sectional validating diagnostic study among young children with and without MEE to investigate the ability of WATFs to predict MEE.

Methods:

WATF measures were obtained in an MEE group of 44 children (53 ears; median age, 1.3 years) scheduled for middle-ear ventilation tube placement and a normal age-matched control group of 44 children (59 ears; median age, 1.2 years) with normal pneumatic otoscopic findings and no history of ear disease or middle-ear surgery. An otolaryngologist judged whether MEE was present or absent and rated tympanic-membrane (TM) mobility via pneumatic otoscopy. A likelihood-ratio classifier reduced WATF data (absorbance, admittance magnitude and phase) from 0.25 to 8 kHz to a single predictor of MEE status. Absorbance was compared to pneumatic otoscopy classifications of TM mobility.

Results:

Absorbance was reduced in ears with MEE compared to ears from the control group. Absorbance and admittance magnitude were the best single WATF predictors of MEE, but a predictor combining absorbance, admittance magnitude, and phase was the most accurate. Absorbance varied systematically with TM mobility based on data from pneumatic otoscopy.

Conclusions:

Results showed that absorbance is sensitive to middle-ear stiffness and MEE, and WATF predictions of MEE in young children are as accurate as those reported for methods recommended by the clinical guidelines. Laryngoscope, 2012