Intended for healthcare professionals


Autoinflation for treatment of glue ear

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 07 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:383

Autoinflation does not produce worthwhile benefit

  1. Haytham Kubba, specialist registrar in paediatric otolaryngology (
  1. Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow G3 8SJ
  2. School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
  3. Social and Preventive Medicine, Graduate Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland 4006, Australia

    EDITOR—A review of nasal balloons is welcome, given the high prevalence of glue ear (otitis media with effusion) and the devices' simplicity.1 The authors conclude from three studies that the balloon may be of benefit. The two published studies to which they refer merit closer attention.2 3 The studies suggest short term benefit, but it is not sustained. No significant differences could be found in either study between treated and control groups in tympanometric resolution at two or three months' follow up. Compliance was poor in over half the children and got worse with time. Any benefit is lost after treatment is stopped.

    Reidpath et al have included the two-week outcomes in one trial2 and the 12-week outcomes in the two others (Blanshard et al3 and the unpublished data), even though benefit …

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