Tympanostomy tubes in children with otitis media

Steel D, Adam GP, Di M, Halladay C, Pan I, Coppersmith N, Balk EM, Trikalinos TA
Record ID 32017000250
Authors' objectives: The objectives for the systematic review are to synthesize information on the effectiveness of tympanostomy tubes (TT) in children with chronic otitis media with effusion and recurrent acute otitis media, summarize the frequency of adverse effects or complications associated with TT placement, synthesize information on the necessity for water precautions in children with TT, and assess the effectiveness of available treatments for otorrhea in children who have TT.
Authors' recommendations: The literature search yielded 13,334 citations, of which 172 articles are included in the report. Overall, the evidence suggests that TT placed in children with persistent middle-ear effusion improve hearing at 1 to 3 months compared to watchful waiting, but there is no benefit at 12 to 24 months. TT did not consistently improve language, cognition, behavior, or quality of life. However, evidence is sparse, limiting definitive conclusions, and is applicable only to otherwise healthy children. The current evidence base provides little guidance for the treatment of children with cleft palate or Down syndrome. Children with recurrent acute otitis media may have fewer episodes after TT placement, but the evidence base is limited and there is insufficient evidence to assess the impact on quality of life. The benefits of TT placement must be weighed against a variety of adverse events. There is no compelling evidence for children with TT to avoid swimming or bathing, or use earplugs or bathing caps. Should otorrhea develop, the evidence supports topical treatment rather than oral antibiotics or watchful waiting.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2017
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Otitis Media
  • Otitis Media with Effusion
  • Prostheses and Implants
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
Contact Name: martin.erlichman@ahrq.hhs.gov
Contact Email: martin.erlichman@ahrq.hhs.gov
Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.