Use your knowledge to take the multiple-choice Medical Terminology Challenge below related to otitis media. Select the best answer and then compare your answer to the answer and rationale provided.

Which of the following statements are true as they relate to otitis media? 

  1. Serous otitis media often occurs in adults and involves a fluid buildup in the external ear.  
  2. Otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear. 
  3. Acute otitis media is usually seen in young children and is associated with an upper respiratory infection. 
  4. Mastoiditis is a contagious inflammation of the mastoid bone that may lead to acute otitis media. 

Options:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2, 3, and 4 only
  4. 1 and 3 only

Answer:

B. 2 and 3 only

According to Medical Terminology for Health Professions, 8th Edition, the following statements are true:

#2. Otitis media is an inflammation of the middle ear.

#3. Acute otitis media is usually seen in young children and is associated with an upper respiratory infection. 

In addition, a patient with acute otitis media can develop a ruptured eardrum due to the fluid or pus buildup in the middle ear.

A, C, and D are incorrect, as #1 and #4 are both false statements:

#1. Serous otitis media often occurs in adults and involves a fluid buildup in the external ear.

A true statement would be that serous otitis media is more common in children than adults and is a fluid buildup in the middle ear that has no symptoms of an infection. Serous otitis media can either come after acute otitis media or it can be due to an obstruction of the eustachian tube. Serous means the substance has a watery consistency. 

#4. Mastoiditis is a contagious inflammation of the mastoid bone that may lead to acute otitis media.

A true statement would be that mastoiditis is an inflammation of the mastoid bone and may come about when antibiotics for acute otitis media fails, causing the condition to spread to the mastoid process. Mastoiditis is not a contagious condition. Mastoid means mastoid process; -itis means inflammation.


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