Observation Option Toolkit for Acute Otitis Media

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2001 Apr 6;58(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5876(01)00421-9.


The observation option for acute otitis media (AOM) refers to deferring antibiotic treatment of selected children for up to 3 days, during which time management is limited to analgesics and symptomatic relief. With appropriate follow-up complications are not increased, and clinical outcomes compare favorably with routine initial antibiotic therapy. Although used commonly in the Netherlands and certain Scandinavian countries, this approach has not gained wide acceptance in Europe and the United States. This article describes an evidence-based toolkit developed by the New York Region Otitis Project for judicious use of the observation option. The toolkit is not intended to endorse the observation option as a preferred method of management, nor is it intended as a rigid practice guideline to supplant clinician judgement. Rather, it presents busy clinicians with the tools needed to implement the observation option in everyday patient care should they so desire.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • New York
  • Observation / methods*
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Program Development / standards*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Societies, Medical


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents