Ear pain resident survival guide

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Samah Obaiah, MD[2]

Synonyms and Keywords:

Ear pain resident survival guide Microchapters
Overview
Causes
Diagnosis
Treatment


Overview

Ear pain or otalgia maybe it is a pain that originates outside the ear or the pain that originates from the ear, and the etiology can be difficult to establish because of the complex innervation of the ear. Branches of the fifth, seventh, ninth, and tenth cranial nerve along with cervical nerves 1, 2, and 3 all contribute to sensation in the middle ear, external auditory canal, auricle, and peri-auricular tissues. Irritation of any portion of these cranial nerves can result in otalgia[1].otalgia can be the manifestation of myocardial ischemia (ie, an angina equivalent) because the vagus nerve provides sensory innervations for both structures. Intermittent pain is much more likely to be associated, for example, with musculoskeletal conditions as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and other myofascial pain dysfunction syndromes.otalgia classified as primary, which originated from the ear, and secondary, which originated outside the ear. When the ear examination is abnormal, the source of the pain from the ear (primary otalgia); when the ear examination is typically normal, the pain source is not the ear(secondary otalgia) [2].Examination should be carried out including inspection of nasal cavity, oral cavity, neck, and possibly the larynx[1].



Causes

Life Threatening Causes

Otalgia is not life-threatening, but some characteristics make a serious diagnosis more likely in patients with Otalgia. As patients who are 50 years or older have coronary artery disease, have diabetes, or are immunocompromised are at higher risk. Also, patients who smoke, drink alcohol, or lose weight unintentionally should undergo more scrutiny. Otalgia may also be the first sign of:[2][3][4]

Common Causes

Common causes for Primary Otalgia[4]

Common causes for Secondary Otalgia[3][4]

Diagnosis

Shown below is an algorithm summarizing the diagnosis of Ear pain according to the American Family Physician AFP 2008 guidelines.

 
 
patient present with history of ear pain

Pain (factors should be considered location, duration, aggravating factors, alleviating factors, associated symptoms, previous episodes, medical history, smoking status, and alcohol abuse.)

Symptoms of primary otalgia such as -

  • Otorrhea
  • Tympanic membrane fullness
  • Vertigo

Symptoms of secondary otalgia

  • Pain with chewing
  • Sinusitis
  • Dental procedures
  • A history of gastroesophageal reflux.
  • No hearing loss
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ear examination include:-
  • inspection of the auricle and periauricular region
  • otoscopic examination, which may require cerumen removal.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
abnormal findings with apperant the causes identified( primary otalgia)
 
 
 
 
 
normal or equivocal findings
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Treat underlying cause
 
 
more evaluation and examine nose, throat, neck, chest(consider audiometry,tympanometry,pneumetic otoscopy)
 
dental etiology
 
 
temporomandibular joint syndrome
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dental referral
 
 
pain killer as primary care and soft diet if the pain presistent, refer to dental care
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HX of smoking, alcohol use, age older than 50 years,
 
 
Coronary artery disease risk factors
 
HX of headache, malaise, wight loss, fever, or anorexia and age older than 50 years
 
 
No risk factors of serious diagnosis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
more evaluation by nasolaryngoscopy, tympanometry, audiometry,or magnetic resonance imaging,and computed tomography (if there is a history of cancer, positron emission tomography may be performed to provide)
 
 
ECG,chest radiography ,troponin maeseurment
 
ESR reat
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Otolaryngology referral
 
 
send to emergency department
 
depends on the rate of patient more than 50mm per hour immedate otolaryngology or ophthalmology consultation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Observe or treat empirically as pain killer, soft diet
  • if pain presistent more evaluation and refer
 
 

Treatment

Shown below is an algorithm summarizing the treatment of Ear pain according the the American Family Phsyician guidelines.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
patient with ear pain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Infection treat with antibiotics topical or systemic, cleaning of the area, and oral analgesics for comfort
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
referred ear pain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If no responsed refered to evaluation by otorhinolaryngology, IV antibiotics, and hospital admission.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There is procedural management by a health professional, in addition to antibiotic therapy as:-
  • Removal of impacted desquamated keratin debris in the ear canal in case of Keratosis obturans.
  • Surgical debridement, Surgical drainage could be required in case of Chronic perichondritis.
  • When the development of bullae on the tympanic membrane can be punctured to give pain relief.
  • Foreign bodies in the ear canal can cause pain and be treated with careful removal.
  • Infected sebaceous cyst is treated with incision and drainage of the cysts, oral antibiotics, and otorhinolaryngology assessment.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
depends on the underlying cause

References

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  3. 3.0 3.1 Charlett SD, Coatesworth AP (2007). "Referred otalgia: a structured approach to diagnosis and treatment". Int J Clin Pract. 61 (6): 1015–21. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.00932.x. PMID 17504363.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ely JW, Hansen MR, Clark EC (2008). "Diagnosis of ear pain". Am Fam Physician. 77 (5): 621–8. PMID 18350760.
  5. Journeau L, Pistorius MA, Michon-Pasturel U, Lambert M, Lapébie FX, Bura-Riviere A; et al. (2019). "Juvenile temporal arteritis: A clinicopathological multicentric experience". Autoimmun Rev. 18 (5): 476–483. doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2019.03.007. PMID 30844551.
  6. Lu L, Liu M, Sun R, Zheng Y, Zhang P (2015). "Myocardial Infarction: Symptoms and Treatments". Cell Biochem Biophys. 72 (3): 865–7. doi:10.1007/s12013-015-0553-4. PMID 25638347.
  7. Klein DG (2005). "Thoracic aortic aneurysms". J Cardiovasc Nurs. 20 (4): 245–50. doi:10.1097/00005082-200507000-00008. PMID 16000910.
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  10. "StatPearls". 2020. PMID 32809624 Check |pmid= value (help).
  11. Faria SC, Elsherif SB, Sagebiel T, Cox V, Rao B, Lall C; et al. (2019). "Ischiorectal fossa: benign and malignant neoplasms of this "ignored" radiological anatomical space". Abdom Radiol (NY). 44 (5): 1644–1674. doi:10.1007/s00261-019-01930-7. PMID 30955068.
  12. Sarrell EM, Cohen HA, Kahan E (2003). "Naturopathic treatment for ear pain in children". Pediatrics. 111 (5 Pt 1): e574–9. doi:10.1542/peds.111.5.e574. PMID 12728112. Review in: J Fam Pract. 2003 Sep;52(9):673, 676
  13. Jaber JJ, Leonetti JP, Lawrason AE, Feustel PJ (2008). "Cervical spine causes for referred otalgia". Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 138 (4): 479–85. doi:10.1016/j.otohns.2007.12.043. PMID 18359358.
  14. Kim DS, Cheang P, Dover S, Drake-Lee AB (2007). "Dental otalgia". J Laryngol Otol. 121 (12): 1129–34. doi:10.1017/S0022215107000333. PMID 17708777.
  15. Gauer RL, Semidey MJ (2015). "Diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular disorders". Am Fam Physician. 91 (6): 378–86. PMID 25822556.