The prevalence of atopic disorders in children with chronic otitis media with effusion

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2001 Apr;12(2):102-6. doi: 10.1046/j.0905-6157.2000.00008.x.


We studied 209 children, referred to a multi-disciplinary 'Glue ear/Allergy' clinic at our hospital with a history of chronic or recurrent otitis media with effusion (OME), in order to determine the prevalence of atopic disease in this population. Referrals were made either from within the hospital by Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeons and Audiological Physicians (internal), or by General Practitioners (external). Assessment of atopic status was based on medical history, physical examination, nasal smears and skin-prick testing (SPT) in all children; and on blood eosinophil counts and total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels in a randomly selected subset. The main outcome measures were number of children with rhinitis, asthma, eczema, positive SPT, raised IgE level (> 100 IU/l), and nasal and blood eosinophilia. We found allergic rhinitis in 89%, asthma in 36%, and eczema in 24%. SPTs were positive to one or more of eight common inhalant aeroallergens in 57% of children. Blood tests in the selected subset revealed eosinophilia in 40% and a raised serum IgE in 28%. The worldwide prevalence of allergic rhinitis in children has been estimated to be 20%. The 89% prevalence found in this study is very high and there are a number of reasons which suggest that there may be a causal relationship. Whole-population studies will be required to confirm these findings, which could have important therapeutic implications for OME.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Eczema / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / complications*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Random Allocation
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens