Atopy in children with otitis media with effusion


Caffarelli Clinica Pediatrica, Via Gramsci 14, 43100 Parma, Italy.



Contrasting data have been found on the prevalence of atopy in children with otitis media with effusion (OME). A major issue would be to determine whether screening for atopy should be recommended.


Centre for Study of Otitis Media with Effusion, Tabiano Terme, Parma, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation of OME to atopy.


The subjects were 172 children with OME and a control group of 200 children. The protocol included a questionnaire survey of diseases associated with atopy, a skin-prick test and a clinical evaluation of allergic symptoms and hypersensitivity to aeroallergens.


No significant difference between patients and control group was observed for family history of atopy or positive skin-prick test reactions. Symptoms associated with atopy occurred significantly more frequently in the group with OME (< 0.001), though only the presence of rhinitis or atopic eczema was significantly associated with OME.


Prevalence of positive skin-prick tests results is not enhanced in children with OME. Nevertheless, the association of OME with symptoms associated with atopy suggests that such concomitant diseases may play a part in the pathogenesis of the disorder. Children with allergic rhinitis or atopic eczema should be investigated by tympanometry for OME.