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May 1989

Extensive Variations in Nasal Mucosa in Infants With and Without Recurrent Acute Otitis Media: A Scanning Electron-Microscopic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Histology (Drs Jørgensen and Hansson) and Ear, Nose, and Throat (Drs Jørgensen and Petruson), University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(5):571-580. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860290029010

• Biopsy specimens of the nasal mucosa from the inferior turbinate of infants aged 2 to 26 months were examined by scanning electron microscopy. The specimens were obtained from 23 clinically healthy infants and compared with those from 43 infants with recurrent acute otitis media (RAOM). Potentially pathogenic bacteria were isolated from 61% of the control subjects and 90% of those with RAOM. Infants with RAOM had about as extensive alterations as the healthy ones. A single healthy child and one with RAOM had what was interpreted as a normal nasal mucosa; all others showed reduced frequencies of ciliated cells, deformation of cilia, extensive loss of normal mucosal epithelium, and metaplasia in their nasal epithelial lining. Severely damaged area could be seen close to more normal ones. Nasal mucosa in clinically healthy infants rarely had a normal appearance, probably due to frequent infections and the fairly long time needed for the repair process. We proposed that the high frequency of damaged, incompletely healed nasal mucosa may constitute an important factor with regard to the susceptibility to further infections.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1989;115:571-580)

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