Prevention of otitis media by adenoidectomy in children younger than 2 years

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Feb;129(2):163-8. doi: 10.1001/archotol.129.2.163.


Objectives: To test the effect of adenoidectomy in connection with tympanostomy compared with tympanostomy only in preventing otitis media in children younger than 2 years.

Design: Prospective trial with randomized and nonrandomized arms.

Setting: Primary care study clinics.

Participants and interventions: The study participants were selected from 2497 children who had been enrolled in the Finnish Otitis Media Vaccine Trial at the age of 2 months. A total of 306 children, aged 1 to 2 years, who had experienced recurrent episodes of otitis media were randomized into 2 treatment groups: tympanostomy with or without adenoidectomy. Of the 306 children, 137 were operated on according to random basis (randomized trial). The 169 children whose parents declined participation in the randomized trial were operated on according to the parents' preferences (nonrandomized trial). All children were followed up until 2 years of age. The mean follow-up time was 7 months.

Main outcome measure: The rate of acute otitis media episodes.

Results: The average reduction in the rate of all acute otitis media episodes in the adenoidectomy group was 19% (95% confidence interval [CI], -14% to 43%) among children enrolled in the randomized trial and 25% (95% CI, -13% to 50%) in the nonrandomized trial. The reduction in the randomized trial was mainly due to reduction in the rate of pneumococcal otitis media (58%, 95% CI, 16%-79%).

Conclusion: In children younger than 2 years, concurrent adenoidectomy during the insertion of tympanostomy tubes does not seem to have a major advantage over the insertion of tympanostomy tubes alone in preventing otitis media.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy*
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Haemophilus Infections / complications
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Ear Ventilation*
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / isolation & purification
  • Otitis Media / etiology
  • Otitis Media / microbiology
  • Otitis Media / prevention & control*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pneumococcal Infections / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Time Factors