American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery Foundation

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

Released February 21, 2013

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1

Don’t order computed tomography (CT) scan of the head/brain for sudden hearing loss.

Computed tomography scanning is expensive, exposes the patient to radiation and offers no useful information that would improve initial management. CT scanning may be appropriate in patients with focal neurologic findings, a history of trauma or chronic ear disease.

2

Don’t prescribe oral antibiotics for uncomplicated acute tympanostomy tube otorrhea.

Oral antibiotics have significant adverse effects and do not provide adequate coverage of the bacteria that cause most episodes; in contrast, topically administered products do provide coverage for these organisms. Avoidance of oral antibiotics can reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance and the risk of opportunistic infections.

3

Don’t prescribe oral antibiotics for uncomplicated acute external otitis.

Oral antibiotics have significant adverse effects and do not provide adequate coverage of the bacteria that cause most episodes; in contrast, topically administered products do provide coverage for these organisms. Avoidance of oral antibiotics can reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance and the risk of opportunistic infections.

4

Don’t routinely obtain radiographic imaging for patients who meet diagnostic criteria for uncomplicated acute rhinosinusitis.

Imaging of the paranasal sinuses, including plain film radiography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is unnecessary in patients who meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for uncomplicated acute rhinosinusitis. Acute rhinosinusitis is defined as up to four weeks of purulent nasal drainage (anterior, posterior or both) accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness or both. Imaging is costly and exposes patients to radiation. Imaging may be appropriate in patients with a complication of acute rhinosinusitis, patients with comorbidities that predispose them to complications and patients in whom an alternative diagnosis is suspected.

5

Don’t obtain computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with a primary complaint of hoarseness prior to examining the larynx.

Examination of the larynx with mirror or fiberoptic scope is the primary method for evaluating patients with hoarseness. Imaging is unnecessary in most patients and is both costly and has potential for radiation exposure. After laryngoscopy, evidence supports the use of imaging to further evaluate 1) vocal fold paralysis, or 2) a mass or lesion of the larynx.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery is the world’s largest organization representing nearly 12,000 otolaryngologist–head and neck surgeons who treat the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. Medical disorders in this specialty are among the most common affecting patients, young and old. The AAO-HNS Foundation works to advance the art, science, and ethical practice of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery through education, research, and lifelong learning. For more information, visit www.entnet.org.

How this list was created: The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery’s (AAO-HNS) Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (PSQI) Committee was charged with developing the Foundation’s recommendations for the Choosing Wisely® campaign. The PSQI Committee initially sought the input of the Specialty Society Advisory Council (SSAC) and requested each member society submit potential topics along with supporting evidence. From those submissions, an initial list of 20 items was distributed to Academy and Foundation committees and the Guidelines Development Task Force (GDTF) for review.

PSQI Committee leadership reviewed feedback from the committees and identified six potential recommendations for inclusion in the campaign. The six topics were selected based on their supporting evidence (for example, clinical practice guidelines), committee support, and the current use (frequency) of the test or procedure. The members of SSAC ranked the six topics, and the top five topics were submitted to the Foundation board for approval.

AAO-HNS’ disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.entnet.org.

Sources

1.

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2.

Goldblatt EL, Dohar J, Nozza RJ, Nielsen RW, Goldberg T, Sidman JD, Seidlin M. Topical ofloxacin versus systemic amoxicillin/clavulanate in purulent otorrhea in children with tympanostomy tubes. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1998 Nov 15;46(1-2):91-101.

Rosenfeld RM, Schwartz SR, Pynnonen MA, Tunkel DE, Hussey HM, Fichera JS, Grimes AM, Hackell JM, Harrison MF, Haskell H, Haynes DS, Kim TW, Lafreniere DC, LeBlanc K, Mackey WL, Netterville JL, Pipan ME, Raol NP, Schellhase KG. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tympanostomy tubes in children. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013; Submitted for publication.

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Rosenfeld RM, Brown L, Cannon CR, Dolor RJ, Ganiats TG, Hannley M, Kokemueller P, Marcy SM, Roland PS, Shiffman RN, Stinnett SS, Witsell DL. Clinical practice guideline: Acute otitis externa. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg [Internet]. 2006 Apr [cited 2012 Oct 18];134(4 Suppl):S4-23.

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Rosenfeld RM, Andes D, Bhattacharyya N, Cheung D, Eisenberg S, Ganiats TG, Gelzer A, Hamilos D, Haydon RC 3rd, Hudgins PA, Jones S, Krouse HJ, Lee LH, Mahoney MC, Marple BF, Mitchell CJ, Nathan R, Shiffman RN, Smith TL, Witsell DL.Clinical practice guideline: Adult sinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg [Internet]. 2007 Sep [cited 2012 Oct 18]:137(3 Suppl):S1-31.

5.

Schwartz SR, Cohen SM, Dailey SH, Rosenfeld RM, Deutsch ES, Gillespie MB, Granieri E, Hapner ER, Kimball CE, Krouse HJ, McMurray JS, Medina S, O’Brien K, Ouellette DR, Messinger-Rapport BJ, Stachler RJ, Strode S, Thompson DM, Stemple JC, Willging JP, Cowley T, McCoy S, Bernad PG, Patel MM. Clinical practice guideline: Hoarseness (dysphonia). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg [Internet]. 2009 Sep [cited 2012 Oct 18];141(3 Suppl 2):S1-S31.