Abnormalities of the neonatal ear: otoscopic observations, histologic observations, and a model for contamination of the middle ear by cellular contents of amniotic fluid

The Laryngoscope
R D Eavey


It is unknown whether childhood ear disease could be present long before symptoms provoke an initial otoscopic examination. A newborn middle ear might or might not start in a pristine, privileged state. The clinician evaluating later infant and childhood ear disease is often unaware of the status of a patient's ear from the neonatal period, the earliest time at which the tympanic membrane can be evaluated. Adding to the physician's handicap, normative otoscopic and histologic data on the neonatal ear are incomplete. In order to test the hypothesis that disease in the neonatal middle ear may be more common than is generally appreciated, the population of critically ill neonates was selected for study since this group can provide both clinical as well as histologic data. This manuscript is divided into three parts. Clinically, otoscopic observations were analyzed on infants in an intensive care unit. Histologically, neonatal temporal bones were studied for normal anatomy and pathology of the middle ear and antrum. Experimentally, an animal study was performed to evaluate the potential effect of amniotic fluid cellular contents aspirated into the middle ear. I. Clinical Otoscopic Observations. Daily otoscopic examination was condu...Continue Reading


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