Prevention and Treatment of Tympanostomy Tube Otorrhea: A Meta-analysis.

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    • Abstract:
      CONTEXT: Children with tympanostomy tubes often develop ear discharge. OBJECTIVE: Synthesize evidence about the need for water precautions (ear plugs or swimming avoidance) and effectiveness of topical versus oral antibiotic treatment of otorrhea in children with tympanostomy tubes. DATA SOURCES: Searches in Medline, the Cochrane Central Trials Registry and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Excerpta Medica Database, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. STUDY SELECTION: Abstracts and full-text articles independently screened by 2 investigators. DATA EXTRACTION: 25 articles were included. RESULTS: One randomized controlled trial (RCT) in children assigned to use ear plugs versus no precautions reported an odds ratio (OR) of 0.68 (95% confidence interval, 0.37-1.25) for >1 episode of otorrhea. Another RCT reported an OR of 0.71 (95% confidence interval, 0.29-1.76) for nonswimmers versus swimmers. Network meta-analyses suggest that, relative to oral antibiotics, topical antibiotic-glucocorticoid drops were more effective: OR 5.3 (95% credible interval, 1.2-27). The OR for antibiotic-only drops was 3.3 (95% credible interval, 0.74-16). Overall, the topical antibiotic-glucocorticoid and antibiotic-only preparations have the highest probabilities, 0.77 and 0.22 respectively, of being the most effective therapies. LIMITATIONS: Sparse randomized evidence (2 RCTs) and high risk of bias for nonrandomized comparative studies evaluating water precautions. Otorrhea treatments include non-US Food and Drug Administration approved, off-label, and potentially ototoxic antibiotics. CONCLUSIONS: No compelling evidence of a need for water precautions exists. Cure rates are higher for topical drops than oral antibiotics. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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