Clinical Pathway for Evaluation/Treatment of
Acute Otitis Media in Children 2 Months to 12 Years Old*
Acute Otitis Media (AOM)
Diagnostic Criteria for AOM (all 3 required)
Onset Acute onset of signs and symptoms
Bulging Membrane Best predictor of bacterial infection
Middle Ear Effusion Reduced TM mobility with pneumatic otoscopy

AOM should be diagnosed in children with new onset otorrhea without otitis externa

OME diagnosis is based on a middle ear effusion w/o middle ear inflammation

Mild Bulging
Moderate Bulging
Severe Bulging
Definitions
Observation

May observe 48-72 hours, only if follow-up is ensured, provide analgesia

Antibiotic prescription can be provided at discharge with instructions to start if symptoms worsen/persist over the next 48-72 hours

Severe Disease Moderate to severe otalgia or fever ≥ 39°C
Initial Acute Otitis Media (AOM)
  < 6 months 6-24 months > 2 years
Observation Not indicated Unilateral and illness is not severe

Illness not severe

Strongly consider treatment for bilateral AOM

Severe Disease 10 days 10 days 7 days
Antibiotic Failure No clinical improvement in 48-72 hours
Antibiotic Therapy for Acute Otitis Media
Indications Antibiotic Dose
First line for majority Amoxicillin 80-90 mg/kg/day in 2 doses
First line if:
Patient received amoxicillin preceding 30 days or
Concurrent conjunctivitis
(suggests β-lactamase +)
Amoxicillin-clavulinate

90 mg/kg/day of Amoxicillin in 2 doses

Use ES formulation

Amoxicillin Failure Amoxicillin-clavulinate 90 mg/kg/day of Amoxicillin in 2 doses
Amoxicillin-clavulinate or
oral Cephalosporin failure
Ceftriaxone 50 mg/kg IM or IV x 3 days
Ceftriaxone failure Clindamycin + Cefdinir or cefpodoxime  
Penicillin Allergy
  • Cedinir
  • Cefuroxime
  • Cefpodoxime
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Cross-reactivity among penicillin and cephalosporin allergy is very low, especially when using specific cephalosporin above
  • 14 mg/kg/day in 1 or 2 doses
  • 30 mg/kg/day in 2 doses
  • 10 mg/kg/day in 2 doses
  • 50 mg/kg/dose IM or IV x3 days
Perforation Floxin-ocuflox Drops (Ofloxacin) 5 drops affected ear BID 10 days
Posted: November 2008
Revised: April 2011, December 2013
Author: M. Joffe, MD
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