ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Things To Know About Acute Suppurative Otitis Media

Acute otitis media is a common infection in children, and it’s a treatable one. But it can develop into more serious forms of infection like acute suppurative otitis media. Here’s basic information that every parent should know in order to seek medical attention for their children’s middle ear infection as soon as possible.



General Definitions

First off, otitis media is the inflammation of the middle ear wherein fluid becomes trapped in it. This is typically a result of the flu, the common cold, and other respiratory conditions wherein the Eustachian tube swells resulting in fluid buildup. Adults rarely get it but it’s a common condition in children, especially in younger ones.



Its common symptoms include:

  • Earache, often accompanied by tugging and pulling at the affected ear to relieve the discomfort or pain
  • Clear fluid in the ears
  • Fever of 100°od higher
  • Restlessness and/or fussiness
  • Irritability



According to the ICD-9-CM code assignment, otitis media is classified into:

  • Acute otitis media refers to the sudden and severe onset of the infection, which can be caused by either bacteria or virus
  • Chronic otitis media pertains to a prolonged infection lasting for several weeks with little to no sign of clearing up. It may be caused to the buildup of fluid behind the eardrum resulting from repeated infections.
  • Suppurative otitis media is characterized by fluid buildup accompanied by the formation of pus in the middle ear.
  • Non-suppurative otitis media doesn’t have push formation.



With this in mind, acute suppurative otitis media is the sudden and severe onset of viral or bacterial infection in the middle ear accompanied by the buildup of pus. From the description alone, parents are understandably worried about its complications, especially with delayed treatment. The middle ear, after all, is a fragile part and infections in it should be addressed promptly.



Differentiation Between Suppurative and Secretory Otitis Media

There’s another differentiation between these types of otitis media. In acute suppurative otitis media, the purulent fluid contains pathogenic bacteria that contributes to the spread of the infection and the worsening of the symptoms. In fact, the only positive way to diagnose the infection is through the aspiration of the fluid but it must also be emphasized that it’s rarely necessary for its initial diagnosis and treatment.



In secretory otitis media, the fluid usually doesn’t contain pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The fluid can be one of two types: first, serous, a fluid with a thin quality and a straw color; and second, mucoid, a fluid with a thick consistency and a translucent gray color.



The differentiation between the different types of otitis media is important because there will be differences in each one’s treatment and management.  With acute suppurative otitis media, for example antibiotics will be definitely necessary to stop the growth of bacteria.



If your child has the ENT issue, it is suggested to consult an ENT Specialist for the appropriate ENT services. HK ENT Specialist Ltd. is a professional Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre for ENT Services. Please call us and make an appointment at 3100 0555.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

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