Q&A: What is hemorrhagic otitis media?
My daughter is 11 months old and was just diagnosed with hemorrhagic otitis media in her right ear, and otitis media in the left. I have never heard of hemorrhagic otitis. Is it much different than a ruptured ear drum?
Technically speaking, otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear space, an air-filled cavity right behind the eardrum. A serious otitis means there is fluid trapped in that space, whether that fluid is sterile or infected.
If that fluid is pus, it is called ‘purulent otitis media’. If it is blood, the term is ‘hemorrhagic otitis’. When the pressure of that fluid exceeds the strength of the drum, the drum can ‘pop’, or perforate, spilling the contents of the middle ear space (whether it be pus, blood, sterile liquid or any combination) into the ear canal and out onto the face. As awful as this sounds, without the pressure, a child usually feels much less pain and ear drums almost always heal well without consequence. So, hemorrhagic otitis media merely describes an inflammed middle ear space with bloody fluid, whether or not a perforation has occured.
It should respond as well as the other ear to the antibiotics your doctor probably prescribed, unless there has been trauma to that right ear.