The diagnosis of acute otitis media (AOM) is often difficult, depending heavily on the experience and skills of the examiner. However, it is important to identify episodes of AOM that involve the risk of complications and to treat these episodes appropriately. The present study was performed in order to evaluate the use of a rapid antigen assay for Streptococcus pneumoniae, the Binax NOW test, as a diagnostic tool in patients with severe AOM and associated complications. The study included 70 patients with 74 episodes of AOM, 18 of them with complications. Cultures, Binax NOW tests, and a PCR assay were performed on nasopharyngeal secretions, middle ear fluid, and in some cases mastoid bone, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine. According to culture and PCR of the middle ear fluid, 30 (41%) of the episodes were caused by S. pneumoniae. The Binax NOW test was positive in 24 of these episodes (80%). It identified pneumococcal AOM independent of antibiotic treatment, and it was easily adapted to bone tissue. The test yielded sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for middle ear specimens of 85%, 100%, 100%, and 89%, respectively. The corresponding positive and negative values for predicting the bacterial etiology with nasopharyngeal secretions were 51% and 75%. This study showed that the Binax NOW test is a useful diagnostic tool for patients with severe AOM with or without complications.
- Mikrobiologi inom det medicinska området