Quality of Life of Children with Otitis Media and Impact of Insertion of Transtympanic Ventilation Tubes in a Portuguese Population

Ana Rita Lameiras, Deodato Silva, Assunção O´Neill, Pedro Escada


Introduction: Quality of life is an important measure for health-outcome evaluation. Although otitis media is one of the most common childhood diseases, its impact on Portuguese children’s quality of life is unknown. The aim of this study is to determine the quality of life of Portuguese children with chronic otitis media with effusion and/or recurrent acute otitis media and the short-term impact of transtympanic ventilation tubes, using the Portuguese version of the OM-6 questionnaire, a valid, reliable and sensitive instrument to evaluate the health-related quality of life in children with otitis media.

Material and Methods:
This study was conducted in a tertiary referral center, to where children are referred from primary care and hospital pediatric consultations. The Portuguese version of the OM-6 questionnaire was applied to children with chronic otitis media with effusion and/or recurrent acute otitis media. The instrument was re-administered at two months postoperatively to a group of children who underwent tympanostomy tube placement, to evaluate the change in quality of life with the surgical procedure.

The study involved a sample of 169 children, aged between 6 months and 12 years (mean: 4.20 ± 2.05 years). The average score in the survey was 3.3 ± 1.47, of a maximum of 7 (worst quality of life). The domains ‘caregiver concerns’, ‘hearing loss’ and ‘physical suffering’ had the highest scores. The domain ‘hearing loss’ was correlated with the domain ‘speech impairment’ (rs = 0.41; p < 0.001) and the domain ‘physical suffering’ correlated with the domain ‘activity limitation’ (rs = 0.47; p < 0.001). There was a correlation between the score on ‘hearing loss’ and the presence of conduction hearing loss (χ2 (6) = 24.662; p = 0.022). Children with chronic otitis media with effusion had lower scores on the domain ‘physical suffering’, while children with recurrent acute otitis media had lower scores in the domain ‘hearing loss’ and higher scores in the domain ‘emotional distress’. There was an improvement in the quality of life in all the dimensions studied by the questionnaire after surgery. The improvement was large in 55%, moderate in 15% and small in 10% of the cases. The presence of otorrhea postoperatively did not decrease the quality of life improvement achieved with surgery.

Otitis media has a negative impact on Portuguese children quality of life. Tympanostomy tubes improve quality of life related to the middle ear in most children. The application of validated disease-specific questionnaires allows an enhanced understanding of the impact of otitis media on Portuguese children quality of life and of the success of therapeutic measures.


Child; Otitis Media/surgery; Portugal; Prostheses and Implants; Quality of Life; Surveys and Questionnaires

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