Objective To evaluate the utility of fluorescence to assess penetration of quinolone ear drops (EDs) through tympanostomy tubes (TTs), the middle ear, eustachian tube, and into the oropharynx.
Design Before-and-after trial.
Setting Academic, tertiary care hospital.
Patients Young children undergoing TT placement for otitis media and adolescents or adults undergoing repair of tympanic membrane (TM) perforations were included.
Interventions Fluorescence of ofloxacin otic solution and serial dilutions was assessed with a Wood's lamp in vitro. Passage of ototopically administered ofloxacin into the pharynx was assessed in patients at the time of TT placement or TM repair. The oropharynx was visualized for fluorescence with a UV light for up to 2 hours after otic instillation.
Main Outcome Measure Oropharyngeal fluorescence.
Results Ofloxacin otic fluorescence was visible at up to a 1:4 dilution. Fluorescence was confirmed in vivo by placing 1 drop of ofloxacin into the posterior pharynx and visualizing it transorally. Fluorescence was not identified in any of 20 patients after TT placement and in any of 6 patients prior to tympanoplasty. Two patients undergoing tympanoplasty reported tasting the EDs.
Conclusion Fluorescence is not a satisfactory method of assessing quinolone ED penetration through TTs and TM perforations, the middle ear, and into the nasopharynx.