Practical applicability of the STAMCO and ChOLE classification in cholesteatoma care

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Oct;278(10):3777-3787. doi: 10.1007/s00405-020-06478-7. Epub 2020 Dec 18.


Background: To compare cholesteatoma care internationally and to evaluate outcomes, ear surgeons must use the same terminology. However, a clear universal definition on how to describe the extension, destruction and accompanying morbidity caused by the cholesteatoma is lacking. The practical applicability by means of interrater agreement is assessed for the STAMCO and the ChOLE classification.

Methods: A total of 134 adult patients derived from the nationwide multicentre study in the Netherlands, entitled Dutch Cholesteatoma Data (DCD) were included. Retrospective analysis of 134 surgical reports according to the STAMCO and ChOLE classification for localisation/extension of the cholesteatoma, complication status and ossicular chain status. Both the percentage agreement and the interrater agreement were determined for each item of the classifications and interrater agreement was compared between the classifications as a whole.

Results: Differences in interrater agreement were found for both the localisation/extension of the cholesteatoma and ossicular chain status. STAMCO classification derived from the surgical report scored better on the localisation/extension of the cholesteatoma, whereas the ChOLE classification derived from the surgical report scored better on the status of the ossicular chain. In both classifications, complication status had a low agreement level but was also poorly registered in the surgical reports.

Conclusion: Both STAMCO and ChOLE will be beneficial in uniform registration of cholesteatoma pathology in practice. Modifications proposed for both classifications may make them even more practical applicable in the future. A common denominator obtained from these two classifications may be incorporated in a standardised surgical report to facilitate evaluation which make outcomes transferable towards both classifications.

Keywords: ChOLE; Cholesteatoma; Classification; Pathology; STAMCO.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesteatoma* / diagnosis
  • Cholesteatoma* / surgery
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear* / surgery
  • Ear Ossicles
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Retrospective Studies