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Tympanostomy-Tube Placement No Better for Recurrent Otitis Media

Rate of episodes of acute otitis media not significantly lower with tympanostomy-tube placement versus medical management

THURSDAY, May 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For young children with recurrent otitis media, the rate of episodes of acute otitis media is not significantly lower with tympanostomy-tube placement versus medical management during the ensuing two-year period, according to a study published in the May 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Alejandro Hoberman, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues randomly assigned children ages 6 to 35 months with recurrent acute otitis media to undergo tympanostomy-tube placement or receive medical management involving episodic antimicrobial treatment.

The researchers found that the rate of episodes of acute otitis media per child-year during a two-year period was 1.48 ± 0.08 and 1.56 ± 0.08 in the tympanostomy-tube and medical-management groups, respectively, in the intention-to-treat analysis (P = 0.66). In a per-protocol analysis, the corresponding episode rates were 1.47 ± 0.08 and 1.72 ± 0.11. Results were mixed among secondary outcomes in the main analysis. The time to first episode of acute otitis media, various episode-related clinical findings, and the percentage of children meeting specified criteria for treatment failure favored tympanostomy-tube placement, while children’s cumulative number of days with otorrhea favored medical management.

“We found that tympanostomy-tube placement was not superior to medical management in reducing the rate of episodes of acute otitis media during the ensuing two-year period,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Kaizen Bioscience and holding patents, including one licensed to Kaizen Bioscience. A second author disclosed ties to Merck.

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