Complications of Tympanostomy Tubes Inserted for Facilitation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
March 1998

Complications of Tympanostomy Tubes Inserted for Facilitation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology (Drs Clements and Vrabec) and the Marine Medicine Division (Dr Mader), University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124(3):278-280. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.3.278

Objective  To document the incidence of complications occurring secondary to placement of tympanostomy tubes in patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Design  Retrospective chart review.

Setting  Tertiary referral center.

Patients  Forty-five patients referred to the Department of Otolaryngology for inability to tolerate hyperbaric oxygen therapy between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1995.

Interventions  All patients underwent bilateral myringotomy and tube placement.

Outcome Measures  Charts were reviewed for complications of tube placement, including otorrhea, otalgia, hearing loss, persistent perforations, and tinnitus.

Results  Seventeen (38%) of 45 patients experienced complications, with most having more than 1. Most complications occurred after conclusion of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Otorrhea was most common, occurring in 13 patients (29%). Persistent tympanic membrane perforations occurred in 7 patients (16%).

Conclusions  The rate of complications is higher than reported for placement of tympanostomy tubes in other patient populations. Coexisting illness, such as diabetes mellitus, may contribute to the development of complications in patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Alternative methods of tympanostomy, with emphasis on shorter duration of intubation, should be considered in this patient population.