Pneumatic otoscopy: study of inter-observer variability

J Laryngol Otol. 1989 Dec;103(12):1134-5. doi: 10.1017/s0022215100111193.


The degree of inter-observer variability in the results of pneumatic otoscopy, used to predict the presence or absence of middle ear effusion was assessed. A group of 114 patients with 209 suitable ears had pneumatic otoscopy using a Seigle's speculum performed independently by two observers. The results were compared to the findings at myringotomy, on the basis that mobility of the tympanic membrane was indicative of a dry middle ear. The observers agreed in 187 ears, a concordance rate of 91 per cent, and in 174 of these (93 per cent) the observers' prediction of middle ear state was correct. The overall predictive accuracy of observer A was 89 per cent and of observer B 84 per cent, this difference is not statistically significant, p greater than 0.05.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Observer Variation
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis*
  • Otitis Media / pathology
  • Otitis Media / surgery
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / pathology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tympanic Membrane / pathology*