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Keywords:

  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma;
  • otitis media with effusion;
  • radiotherapy;
  • treatment method

Abstract

Objective: To explore treatments for postirradiation otitis media with effusion (OME) in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Study Design: This study is a prospective quasi-randomized clinical trial.

Methods: Ninety-six patients (135 ears) with OME after the first course of radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma were divided into three groups: simple auripuncture plus aspiration, tympanic membrane fenestration with cauterization, and myringotomy plus grommet insertion. Cure rates and incidences of complications were compared.

Results: Two deaths occurred. The other 94 patients (132 ears) finished a 2-year follow-up. In group 1, four ears (8.9%) were cured after the first treatment and 17 ears overall (37.8%) were cured by the end of the follow-up. Twenty ears (44.4%) had persistent fluid, two ears (4.4%) developed chronic suppurative otitis media, and five ears (11.1%) developed dry eardrum perforation. In group 2, seven ears (15.6%) were cured after the first treatment and 21 ears overall (46.7%) were cured by the end of the follow-up. Fourteen ears (31.1%) had persistent fluid, three ears (6.7%) developed chronic suppurative otitis media, and seven ears (15.6%) developed dry eardrum perforation. In group 3, eight ears (17.8%) were cured after the first treatment and 23 ears overall (51.1%) were cured by the end of the follow-up. Seven ears (15.6%) had persistent fluid, five ears (11.1%) developed chronic suppurative otitis media, three ears (6.7%) developed eardrum perforation with effusion, and five ears (11.1%) developed dry eardrum perforation.

Conclusion: The methods each have advantages and disadvantages. We believe that a step by step approach should be used when choosing the treatment method for postirradiation OME. That is, first apply auripuncture plus aspiration, and then the other methods if this approach is inadequate. Enhanced local care after grommet insertion can effectively reduce the incidence of complications.