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Developmental outcomes did not differ for early or delayed tympanostomy tube insertion in young children with otitis media

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QUESTION: In young children with persistent otitis media with effusion, does prompt insertion of tympanostomy tubes protect against or minimise subsequent developmental impairment at 3 years of age compared with delayed insertion?


Randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with follow up to 3 years of age.


2 hospitals and 6 private paediatric group practices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Of 6350 children enrolled by age 2 months, 429 children (mean age 15 mo, 57% boys) in …

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  • Sources of funding: National Institute for Child Health and Human Development; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; gifts from SmithKline Beecham Laboratories and Pfizer.

  • For correspondence: Dr J L Paradise, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 3705 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2538, USA. Fax +1 412 692 8012.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Medicine.