Demographics and microbiology of otorrhea through patent tubes failing ototopical and/or oral antibiotic therapy

Inessa Fishman, Kevin J. Sykes, Rebecca Horvat, Rangaraj Selvarangan, Jason Newland, Julie L. Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives. Posttympanostomy tube otorrhea (PTTO) results in significant health care cost and decreased satisfaction with care. The authors reviewed PTTO failing initial ototopical and/or oral antibiotic therapy and microbiology/susceptibility data from cultures. Study Design. Case series with chart review. Setting. A community university satellite ambulatory clinic and the outpatient clinic of a children's hospital. Methods. Review of 202 patients with 228 discrete episodes of culture-positive otorrhea from January 2004 to January 2009. Results. PTTO occurred an average of 13 months after tube placement. Median otorrhea duration was 21 days (mean, 42 days). A mean of 1.6 visits (range, 1-6) to the pediatric otolaryngology office was required for PTTO resolution. Ototopical therapy was reported used in 198 of 228 (87%) episodes of otorrhea prior to pediatric otolaryngology visit. Nearly 50% of patients were prescribed at least 1 or more courses of systemic antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus accounted for 52% of the organisms cultured, with 57% methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA). S aureus resistance to clindamycin was high (49%) and resistance to levofloxacin was low (1.8%). MRSA was 68% clindamycin resistant, much higher than both ours and the children's hospital's clindamycin resistance rate of MRSA cultured from all other body sites. Conclusions. PTTO that presents as having failed ototopical and/or oral antibiotics most commonly consists of S aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. MRSA is highly prevalent in this population. It is not necessary to culture PTTO that presents to an otolaryngology office, as resistance to levofloxacin was only 1.8%. It is unclear why the same fluoroquinolone ototopical therapy that failed initially is often successful in treating PTTO after otolaryngologist visit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1029
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus resistance
  • Otorrhea
  • Ototopical therapy
  • Posttympanostomy tube otorrhea


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