Is waiting and watching better than giving immediate  antibiotics for acute ear infections in urban Indigenous children? (NHMRC App 1046266 CIA Reath).

A multi-centre open label randomised non-inferiority study to compare the efficacy of antibiotics versus watchful waiting for Acute Otitis Media (AOM) without perforation in lower-risk urban Indigenous children.

Disease burden in urban Indigenous children has been highlighted only in recent years. Between 1998 to 2004, hearing screening of Indigenous children in Perth identified middle ear disease in 67% and hearing impairment in 41%. We do not know how best to treat urban Indigenous children with AOM.

Our primary aim is to determine whether a watchful waiting treatment approach is non-inferior to immediate antibiotic treatment in achieving clinical resolution of AOM at Day 7 in Indigenous children living in geographic areas with a lower risk of chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). Also:

  • Cost-Effectiveness will be measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), computed by an economic valuation of time spent in different health states. Indigenous-specific weightings will be used to perform a sensitivity analysis.
  • In-depth semi-structured interviews with health care providers and parents at two sites (Inala Indigenous Health Service and Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney) will provide data around patient and families attitudes and experience in the research.

This will be the first intervention research to determine the best approach to the management of AOM in Indigenous children living in settings with lower prevalence of CSOM. Building sustainable Indigenous research capacity in urban settings is critical to improve outcomes.

Learn more by visiting the WATCH trial website and reading the article in The Koori Mail.

For researchers

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For health practitioners

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For families and communities

Many Indigenous children, and almost all Indigenous children living in remote communities...