The objectives of this study are to evaluate incidence, duration, and quality of life (QOL) impact of early tympanostomy tube otorrhea and tube patency when comparing topical ciprofloxacin versus normal saline use in the perioperative period.
Overall, 200 patients undergoing tube placement between November 19, 2015, and September 12, 2016, were randomized to intraoperative plus 5 days of either topical ciprofloxacin or normal saline. Parents or caregivers reported the incidence, duration, and QOL impact of early otorrhea via 4 weekly surveys. In addition, the patient's otorrhea history and tube patency were evaluated at a 4- to 6-week postoperative visit.
Survey and in-office follow-ups were completed on 128 patients. The overall otorrhea incidence was 23.9% for normal saline and 16.7% for ciprofloxacin (P = .32). The week-by-week otorrhea incidence was not statistically different. The percentage of days otorrhea was present, likewise, was not statistically different (normal saline 4.5%, ciprofloxacin 2.8%; P = .74). The QOL impact was not statistically different (normal saline 1.2, ciprofloxacin 1.5; P = .71). Tube patency was not statistically different, with only 1 of 280 ears occluded at follow-up.
We find no difference in the incidence, duration, and QOL impact of early tympanostomy tube otorrhea or tube patency between ciprofloxacin and normal saline. This supports the option to substitute normal saline for ciprofloxacin in ears without an active ear infection at the time of tube placement, which would reduce both cost and unnecessary antibiotic use.