A group of 46 high-risk infants (graduates of a neonatal intensive care unit) and 19 full-term infants were observed prospectively for middle ear status beginning at 40 weeks' postconceptional age. All infants were born to families living in low socioeconomic urban neighborhoods. Pneumootoscopy was used to determine the presence or absence of middle ear effusion during periodic medical and nonmedical visits throughout a 1-year period. Of all infants studied, 91% had at least one episode of otitis media with effusion during the observation interval. There were no differences in the percentages of visits during which high-risk and full-term infants experienced either normal middle ears bilaterally or otitis media with effusion in one or both ears. Furthermore, the age of onset of otitis media with effusion was similar for the two groups of babies. No differences were found between boys and girls in the age of onset for otitis media or in the percentage of visits at which otitis media with effusion was detected. Hispanic infants experienced their initial episode at significantly younger ages than did black infants in the sample. Both groups had similar percentages of visits attributable to otitis media with effusion during the observation period. The results indicate a high incidence among the infants studied and similar otologic courses for neonatal intensive care unit graduates and full-term infants during the first year of life.
- Received June 9, 1987.
- Copyright © 1988 by the American Academy of Pediatrics