In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, researchers reviewed the medical records of 3,278 patients who received solid organ transplantation between February 1995 and December 2007 at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea.
The study showed that 65 (2 %) of the organ transplant patients had chronic otitis media. Thirty-one cases were from liver transplantation, 28 cases from renal transplantation, and six cases from heart transplantation. Bacterial growth was present in 17 out of 40 isolates. Of those 65 patients, nine underwent surgery, 26 improved with antibiotic treatment, and 30 patients were observed without definite treatment during the pre-transplantation period. After transplantation, aggravation of chronic otitis media was lower in patients receiving surgery than in patients receiving antibiotic therapy or observation alone.
According to the authors, immunosuppressed patients who have undergone organ transplantation can have a clinically hidden otitis media infection which can result in one of the most common life-threatening complications, transplantation failure. So effective treatment of otitis media in these patients appears to be a significant determinant in the success of organ transplantation.