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June 1985

A Tympanocentesis Learning Aid

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Weir) and the Medical Maintenance Section, Logistics Division (Mr Archambault), William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Tex. Dr Weir is now with the Department of Clinical Investigation at William Beaumont.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(6):553-554. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140080023024

Tympanocentesis is often needed for therapeutic or diagnostic reasons.1-3 The principal diagnostic use is in conditions in which the organism or the response of the host may not be predictable or the response (or lack of it) to therapy cannot be observed for use as the key to outcome. These conditions occur in the newborn or the medically or therapeutically immunocompromised, where bacteriology and host response may vary, and in the very seriously ill, where the organism must be identified early. Other indications include the presence of suppurative complications, failure to respond to appropriate antibiotics, and the development of otitis during antibiotic therapy. Since no major benefit has been demonstrated for drainage of the middle ear as a routine part of therapy, the therapeutic reasons are limited to extreme pain and toxic manifestations.

Though the technique is recommended and apparently widely used, to date no tympanocentesis learning or training