Initial findings of shortwave infrared otoscopy in a pediatric population

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Nov:114:15-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.08.024. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of Shortwave infrared (SWIR) otoscopy in a pediatric population and establish differences with visible otoscopy.

Methods: Pediatric patients 3 years of age and older seen in the otolaryngology clinic with an audiogram and tympanogram obtained within a week of the visit were recruited for video otoscopy using visible light otoscopy and SWIR otoscopy. Videos were rated by two otolaryngologists based on ability to identify the promontory, ability to identify the ossicular chain and presence or absence of middle ear fluid.

Results: A total of 74 video recordings of ears were obtained in 20 patients. We obtained interpretable images in 63/74 (85.1%) ears. There was no statistical significance between ability to perform SWIR otoscopy versus white light video otoscopy as indicated by a p-value of 0.376. There was high inter-rater agreement for identification of both the promontory and the ossicular chain with Kappa values of 0.81 and 0.92 respectively. There was statistical significance between SWIR otoscopy and visible otoscopy in the ability to image the promontory (p = 0.012) and the ossicular chain (p = 0.010). Increased contrast of middle ear fluid was seen in SWIR otoscopy when compared to visible otoscopy.

Conclusion: SWIR otoscopy is feasible in a pediatric population and could offer some advantages over visible light otoscopy such as better visualization of the middle ear structures through the tympanic membrane and increased contrast for middle ear effusions.

Keywords: Infrared; Middle ear effusion; Otoscope.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear Ossicles / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear, Middle / diagnostic imaging
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis*
  • Otoscopy / methods*
  • Otoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Tympanic Membrane / diagnostic imaging
  • Video Recording