A 14-year prospective follow-up study of children treated early in life with tympanostomy tubes: Part 1: Clinical outcomes.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2005; 131(4):293-8AO
To determine 14-year otological outcomes in young children treated with early insertion of ventilation tubes (VTs) for recurrent acute otitis media or otitis media with effusion (OME).
Prospective 14-year follow-up.
Central Hospital of Central Finland, a tertiary care hospital. Patients Three hundred five consecutive infants and young children aged 5 to 16 months with otitis media were enrolled for early initial tympanostomy tube insertion. The final study group comprised 237 patients (77.7%) attending the 14-year checkup.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
At the 14-year checkups, abnormal otological findings were recorded and results compared with those of the 5-year checkups.
From 5 to 14 years' follow-up, the number of healed ears increased from 156 (65.8%) to 177 (74.7%), while the number healed of ears with abnormal outcomes decreased from 81 (34.2%) to 60 (25.3%). Of 156 healed ears, 142 (91.0%) remained healed, and 35 (43.2%) of 81 ears with abnormal outcomes healed. The proportion of abnormal outcomes was higher among ears with OME (P = .02) and with 3 or more VT insertions (P<.001). Repeated tympanostomy tube insertion was performed in 141 ears (59.5%), more often in those with OME (P = .003), and ear surgery was performed in 9 ears (3.8%), 8 with OME.
Early VT treatment is recommended for young children with recurrent acute otitis media or persistent OME. Parents should be informed of the long follow-up, of the possible need for repeated VT insertion, and of potential sequelae that sometimes necessitate surgical intervention. Patients healed after 5 years do not need further follow-up.