June 06, 2012
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Spectral gradient acoustic reflectometry only an adjunct for specific otoscopic diagnoses

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Pneumatic otoscopy is a superior tool for diagnosis, but spectral gradient acoustic reflectometry can be a useful adjunct, according to results of a recently published study.

Miia K. Laine, MD, of the department of pediatrics at Turku University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues examined 514 children aged 6 to 35 months in a primary care setting to determine whether spectral gradient acoustic reflectometry (SG-AR) could be used to hone in on specific otoscopic diagnoses. The researchers compared SG-AR with pneumatic otoscopy alone and evaluated the proportions of five manufacturer-recommended SG-AR levels compared with specific otoscopic diagnoses in 2,802 symptomatic examinations and 1,240 asymptomatic clinician visits.

Laine and colleagues said for symptomatic visits, when the angle value was more than 95° (Level 1), 76% of otoscopic diagnoses were healthy middle ear and 5% were acute otitis media. Angle values between 70° and 95° (Level 2), and angle values between 60° and 69° (Level 3) were unrelated to any otoscopic diagnosis. However, Level 4 was related to AOM in 50% of examinations and in otitis media with effusion (OME) in 33%; Level 5 was associated with AOM in 64% and OME in 32% of examinations.

The researchers concluded that SG-AR use alone was not an effective means of making specific otoscopic diagnoses. Although SG-AR’s levels can differentiate between effusion and no effusion, similar to tympanometry, it cannot differentiate between AOM and OME.

Disclosure: Dr. Laine reports no relevant financial disclosures.