a1 Birmingham University Medical School, Birmingham, UK
a2 Department of Otolaryngology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
a3 Department of Medical Statistics, Birmingham University, UK
a4 Department of Epidemiology, Birmingham University, UK
a5 Department of Otolaryngology, Hereford County Hospital and Worcester Royal Hospital, UK
Objectives: To determine the frequency of cholesteatoma in a population of patients with chronic suppurative otitis media, and to determine whether this frequency is affected by ethnicity.
Patients: The study included 6005 patients with chronic suppurative otitis media seen during the course of 30 charitable surgical ‘ear camps’ in Nepal.
Main outcome measures: Proportion of patients with each subtype of disease, and their ethnicity. A secondary outcome measure was concordance of surname with Nepalese ethnic affiliation.
Results: A total of 762 patients were grouped as being of Tibeto-Mongolian origin, and 4875 as Indo-Caucasian. The rate of chronic suppurative otitis media with cholesteatoma, expressed as a proportion of the rate of all chronic suppurative otitis media subtypes, was 17.8 per cent in Tibeto-Mongolian patients and 18.6 per cent in Indo-Caucasian patients (p > 0.05). The effect of other risk factors (i.e. age, gender and geographical district) on disease distribution was also non-significant. Analysis of secondary outcome measures indicated that patients' surnames were a reliable predictor of ethnicity in this Nepalese population.
Conclusion: There is almost complete concordance in proportions of patients with significant genetic, cultural, and even geographical heterogeneity, suggesting that, in Nepal, the aetiology of cholesteatoma owes little to these factors.
(Accepted April 27 2010)
(Online publication September 28 2010)
Mr T P C Martin takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper
Competing interests: None declared