Intractable otitis media - Pathogenesis and treatment of Eosinophilic otitis media (EOM) and otitis media with Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) -associated vasculitis (OMAAV)

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2023 Apr;50(2):171-179. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2022.07.005. Epub 2022 Aug 5.


Intractable otitis media is resistant to antimicrobial therapy, tympanostomy ventilation tube insertion, and surgery. In children, intractable acute otitis media, pathological tympanic membrane due to prolonged otitis media with effusion (OME), tympanic membrane atelectasis, and adhesive otitis media are common. Contrarily, in adults, otitis media caused by drug-resistant pathogens, tuberculous otitis media, cholesterol granuloma, malignant otitis externa (skull base osteomyelitis), eosinophilic otitis media (EOM), and otitis media with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (OMAAV) are common and require differentiation. Among them, EOM is increasing along with eosinophilic upper respiratory tract diseases, such as bronchial asthma and eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis (ECRS), a subgroup of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP). EOM is associated with adult-onset bronchial asthma and is characterized by viscous middle ear effusion and middle ear mucosa thickness with eosinophilic infiltration, which requires treatment with glucocorticoids according to disease activity and symptoms. Recently, OMAAV was proposed because of the similarities in clinical features and therapeutic effects. The clinical course of OMAAV is characterized by a relatively rapid increase in the bone conductive hearing threshold, which progresses over 1-2 months, without response to antimicrobial agents or tympanostomy ventilation tube insertion, and in some cases, is complicated by facial paralysis and hypertrophic pachymeningitis. This new concept may explain the pathogenesis and clinical presentation of many cases of intractable otitis media, the cause of which was previously unknown. Although making a diagnosis of OMAAV is relatively easy based on the clinical course, such as vascular dilatation of the tympanic membrane and positive ANCA titer, it is often difficult because the ANCA titer becomes negative with previous administration of glucocorticoids. In adults with intractable otitis media, ANCA titers must be measured before glucocorticoid administration. Treatment consisted of remission induction therapy with a combination of glucocorticoids and immunosuppressive drugs.

Keywords: ANCA; Eosinophilic otitis media; Otitis media with ANCA associated vasculitis (OMAAV).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis* / complications
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis* / diagnosis
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis* / therapy
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Asthma* / complications
  • Asthma* / therapy
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Otitis Media with Effusion* / complications
  • Otitis Media with Effusion* / therapy
  • Otitis Media* / drug therapy
  • Otitis Media* / therapy


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Glucocorticoids