ISOM 2023 Research Panel 5: Interventions- Vaccines and prevention, medical and surgical treatment, and impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Stephen I. Pelton, Saskia Hullegie, Amanda J. Leach, Paola Marchisio, Tal Marom, Vishakha Sabharwal, Nader Shaikh, Paula A. Tähtinen, Roderick P. Venekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: To identify and synthesize key research advances from the literature published between 2019 and 2023 on the advances in preventative measures, and medical and surgical treatment of uncomplicated otitis media (OM) including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on OM management. Data sources: Medline (PubMed), Embase, and the Cochrane Library. Review methods: All relevant original articles published in English between June 2019 and February 2023 were identified. Studies related to guideline adherence, impact of treatment on immune response and/or microbiology, tympanoplasty, Eustachian tube balloon dilatation, mastoidectomy procedures, and those focusing on children with Down's syndrome or cleft palate were excluded. Main findings: Of the 9280 unique records screened, 64 were eligible for inclusion; 23 studies related to medical treatment, 20 to vaccines, 13 to surgical treatment, 6 to prevention (excl. vaccines) and 2 to the impact of COVID-19 on OM management. The level of evidence was judged 2 in 11 studies (17.2 %) and 3 or 4 in the remaining 53 studies (82.8 %) mainly due to the observational design, study limitations or low sample sizes. Some important advances in OM management have been made in recent years. Video discharge instructions detailing the identification and management of pain and fever for parents of children with acute otitis media (AOM) was more effective than paper instructions in reducing symptomatology; compared to placebo, levofloxacin solution was more effective for treating chronic suppurative otitis media, whereas AOM recurrences during two years of follow-up did not differ between children with recurrent AOM who received tympanostomy tube (TT) insertion or medical management. Further, novel pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) schedules for preventing OM in Aboriginal children appeared ineffective, and a protein-based pneumococcal vaccine had no added value over PCV13 for preventing AOM in native American infants. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a decline in OM and TT case volumes and complications was observed. Implication for practice and future research: Whether the observed impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on OM management extends to the post-pandemic era is uncertain. Furthermore, the impact of the pandemic on the conduct of urgently needed prospective methodologically rigorous interventional studies aimed at improving OM prevention and treatment remains to be elucidated since the current report consisted of studies predominantly conducted in the pre-pandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111782
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Interventions
  • Otitis media
  • Prevention
  • Surgery
  • Treatment
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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