This study aimed to demonstrate the efficacy of balloon Eustachian tuboplasty (BET) in children by assessing their quality of life with the Otitis Media-6 questionnaire (OM-6). The OM-6 questionnaire is the most frequently used instrument to measure health-related quality of life in children with otitis media. In this study, 62 non-syndromic children with a mean age of 7±2 years (age range, 3-12 years) underwent BET or VT insertion as treatments for chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) at our institution over two years in a university hospital in Turkey. All children were refractory to medical treatments for chronic ETD. Thirty cases underwent BET (group 1), and 32 cases underwent ventilation tube (VT) insertion. The children’s parents were instructed to complete the OM-6 questionnaire preoperatively and at six weeks and one year postoperatively. The average preoperative scores were higher than the postoperative scores, and the average six-week postoperative scores were higher than the average one-year postoperative scores for both groups 1 and 2. Furthermore, the average six-week postoperative scores from patients in group 2 were significantly higher than those in group 1. Statistical analyses of the results were performed using the MedCalc Statistical Software version. The results demonstrated that BET may be a safe intervention that positively affects the quality of life in children with chronic ETD.
Although BET seemed to have a positive effect on quality of life in the short term compared to VT insertion, there was no difference between the two interventions in the long term.
Ideally an RCT with larger numbers would best compare the effects of BET and VT insertion treatment. There are the obvious cost implications and the fear of long -term scarring in children. Certainly currently in UK, the gold standard surgical safe option in children is the VT insertion treatment.