After cochlear implantation (CI) there is concern regarding the potential risks of spread of middle ear infection along the electrode array into the cochlea and central nervous system and regarding late sequela of otitis media (OM): eardrum perforation, atelectasis and cholesteatoma. The age for implantation in children overlaps the peak age incidence of acute OM (AOM) and secretory OM (SOM) and delay of implantation reduces the potential benefit from the intervention. Therefore, control of OM by inserting ventilating tubes (VT) is widely performed in pediatric CI candidates who also suffer from otitis media.
To refine indications for VT insertion in candidates for cochlear implantation who also suffer from OM.
Of 200 children referred for CI and implanted one after another, 126 were classified as OM-prone, 98 due to AOM and 28 due to SOM. The rate of development of late sequela of middle ear disease was compared between the two subgroups of OM-proneness.
A total of 15 children (7.5%) developed late sequela of middle ear disease; all belonged to the SOM group; 3.5% developed eardrum perforation; 3.5% atelectasis and 0.5% cholesteatoma.
Pre-CI VT insertion in children with SOM who underwent CI did not prevent development of late sequela of middle ear disease; VT insertion with the object of preventing late sequela of middle ear disease in CI candidates who suffer from SOM only is not required; in otitis-prone children a long term oto-microscopic follow-up is needed in order to identify late sequela of middle ear disease.