Otologic complaints are commonly evaluated and treated in the emergency department (ED) setting. In a retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), among a weighted total of 388,904,009 ED visits in the years 2009 through 2011, 8,611,282 visits were attributed to a primary otologic diagnosis, representing 2.2% of all ED visits. Stratifying further by age, nearly 7% of all pediatric ED encounters involved otologic diagnoses (Laryngoscope. 2015;125:1926-1933).
Explore this issue:September 2016
The most common diagnoses among all age groups in the study included otitis media not otherwise specified (NOS) (60.6%), infected otitis externa NOS (11.8%), and otalgia NOS (6.8%). Other notable diagnoses included impacted cerumen (3.6%) and peripheral vertigo (0.9%). The most common diagnoses for pediatric patients were suppurative or unspecified otitis media (82.1%), followed by disorders of the external ear (9.0%) and other disorders of the ear (5.5%). In contrast, the most common diagnoses for adult patients were more evenly distributed, with suppurative or unspecified otitis media (32.4%) being the most common, followed by disorders of the external ear (28.8%), vertiginous syndromes (19.1%), and other disorders of the ear (12.3%).
Of otologic diagnoses resulting in hospital admission, the most common diagnoses were related to dizziness and vertigo, including benign paroxysmal vertigo (33.3%), labyrinthitis (12.1%), and vestibular neuronitis (8.1%).