Prospective evaluation of the aetiology of acute otitis media with spontaneous tympanic membrane perforation

P. Marchisio, S. Esposito, M. Picca, E. Baggi, L. Terranova, A. Orenti, E. Biganzoli, N. Principi, P. Gallia, E. Mazzucchi, J. Onorato, A. Russo, A. M. Vaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To evaluate the aetiological role of the main bacterial pathogens associated with acute otitis media (AOM) in children with AOM and spontaneous tympanic membrane perforation (STMP). Methods Between 1 May 2015 and 30 April 2016, 177 children, aged 6 months to 7 years, with AOM complicated by STMP within 12 h were prospectively enrolled. Middle ear fluid (MEF) was tested by real-time PCR for Streptococcus pneumoniae, non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Moraxella catarrhalis and Staphylococcus aureus. Results Among the 177 children with AOM and STMP, 92/100 (92.0%) of those with recurrent AOM and 13/77 (16.9%) without recurrent AOM had recurrent STMP (p <0.001). A single pathogen was identified in 70 (39.5%) MEF samples, whereas two, three and four bacteria were detected in 54 (30.5%), 20 (11.3%), and 7 (4.0%) cases, respectively. Non-typeable H. influenzae was the most common and was identified in 90 children (50.8%), followed by M. catarrhalis (62 cases, 35.0%) and S. pneumoniae (48 cases, 27.1%). Non-typeable H. influenzae was the most frequent pathogen in children with co-infections. Children with co-infections, including non-typeable H. influenzae, had significantly more frequent recurrent AOM (adjusted OR 6.609, 95% CI 1.243–39.096, p 0.029). Conclusions Recurrent AOM episodes appear to be associated with an increased risk of AOM with STMP. In AOM with STMP, non-typeable H. influenzae is detected at a high frequency, especially in children with recurrent STMP and often in association with other pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486.e1-486.e6
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Acute otitis media
  • Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae
  • Spontaneous tympanic membrane perforation
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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