Pneumonia predisposes patients to chronic otitis media

26 Feb 2022
Pneumonia predisposes patients to chronic otitis media

Patients with pneumonia appear to be at increased risk of developing chronic otitis media, a study has found.

Researchers used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort and identified 23,436 patients with chronic otitis media and 93,744 controls without the ear infection. Patients and controls were matched based on age, gender, income, and residence region.

The number of patients with prior pneumonia was significantly higher in the chronic otitis media group than in the control group (9.3 percent vs 7.2 percent; p<0.001). Furthermore, patients with chronic otitis media were more likely to have a body mass index of >23 kg/m2, lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, greater comorbidity, and lower alcohol consumption. No between-group differences were seen in smoking status, fasting blood glucose levels, and total cholesterol levels.

Multivariable conditional logistic regression models showed that pneumonia was associated with 31-percent greater odds of developing subsequent chronic otitis media (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.31, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.25–1.38; p<0.001) in all ages and gender.

Furthermore, patients diagnosed with pneumonia ≥5 times had a higher risk of chronic otitis media (adjusted OR, 1.34, 95 percent CI, 1.20–1.49; p<0.001) than those who were diagnosed with pneumonia <5 times.

The present data suggest that infection of the lower respiratory tract may affect the function of the Eustachian tube and the middle ear, leading to chronic otitis media.

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