Outcomes of tympanostomy tube placement in children with Down syndrome-A retrospective review

Lorien M. Paulson, Tyler S. Weaver, Carol J. Macarthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: Tympanostomy tubes are commonly used for treatment of chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) or recurrent acute otitis media (RAOM) in patients with Down syndrome, but hearing outcomes in this population have been mixed, and complications appear to be common. We aim to characterize outcomes and complications associated with tympanostomy tube placement in this population. Methods: Retrospective review. All patients with Down syndrome presenting to a tertiary academic pediatric otolaryngology practice over a ten year period from 2002 to 2012 who received tympanostomy tubes for COME, RAOM, or hearing loss were reviewed. Results: Long term follow up data was obtained in 102 patients, with average follow up 4.7 years. COME was the primary indication for tube placement in 100/102 (98%). Less than half of these patients (44%) initially failed their newborn hearing screen. Post operative hearing was found to be normal or near normal for the better hearing ear in 85/99 (85.9%), and normal to near normal in bilateral ears in 71/99 (71%). A majority (63.7%) of patients required two or more sets of tubes during the follow up period. Long term complications were common and were significantly increased if the patient required three or more sets of tubes, including chronic perforation (36.6% vs 8.2%, p< 0.001), atelectasis (29.3% vs 1.6%, p< 0.0001), and cholesteatoma (14.6% vs 0%, p=0.003). Conclusions: COME is a frequent problem in Down syndrome, and the majority of patients will require two or more sets of tubes during their childhood and achieve normal postoperative hearing. Long term complications of otitis media appear to be more common in this population and appear to correlate with increasing number of tubes placed. More investigation is required to determine optimal treatment strategies for COME in patients with Down syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-226
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Complications
  • Down syndrome
  • Otitis
  • Tympanostomy tubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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