February 25, 1983

Middle Ear Disease and the Practice of PediatricsBurden During the First Five Years of Life

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine (Drs Teele and Klein) and Boston City Hospital (Drs Teele, Klein, and Mathieu); The Maxwell Finland Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, Boston City Hospital (Drs Teele and Klein); The Channing Laboratory and Department of Preventive Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Dr Rosner); Carney Hospital (Dr Younes); East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (Dr Bratton); Cambridge Hospital (Dr Porter), Boston; and Holliston-Framingham Pediatrics (Drs Fisch, Starobin, and Tarlin), Framingham, Mass.

JAMA. 1983;249(8):1026-1029. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330320024025

To determine the burden on pediatricians imposed by disease of the middle ear, we analyzed data from 2,570 children followed up prospectively since birth. Disease of the middle ear accounted for a large proportion of all visits made during the first five years of life, rising from 22.7% during the first year to about 40% in years 4 and 5. About one visit in three made for illness of any kind resulted in the diagnosis of disease of the middle ear. Approximately three fourths of all visits to follow up any illness were made to follow up disease of the middle ear. Disease of the middle ear was diagnosed at between 5% and 10% of all well-baby visits. Children from private practice averaged fewer visits for all reasons than did children using a large neighborhood health center, but the proportions of visits accounted for by disease of the middle ear were similar in both settings.

(JAMA 1983;249:1026-1029)