Objective: To study the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment in routine pediatric care for children with recurrent acute otitis media.
Study design: Pilot cohort study with 1-year posttreatment follow-up. At follow-up, subjects' parents or legal guardians and their referring and/or family physicians were contacted to determine recurrence of otitis media since intervention.
Subjects: A referred and volunteer sample of pediatric patients ranging in age from 7 months to 35 months with a history of recurrent otitis media (N=8).
Intervention: For 3 weeks, all subjects received weekly osteopathic structural examinations and osteopathic manipulative treatment. This intervention was performed concurrently with traditional medical management.
Results: Five (62.5%) subjects had no recurrence of symptoms. Of the three remaining subjects in this cohort, one had a bulging tympanic membrane, another had four episodes of otitis media, and the last underwent surgery after recurrence at 6 weeks posttreatment. Closer analysis of the posttreatment course of the last two subjects indicates that there may have been a clinically significant decrease in morbidity for a period of time after intervention.
Conclusion: The present study indicates that osteopathic manipulative treatment may change the progression of recurrent otitis media, a finding that supports the need for additional research in this area.