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.
- Otitis media