A prospective study of the effect of gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment on children with otitis media

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Jan;137(1):35-41. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2010.222.


Objectives: To demonstrate improvements in validated quality-of-life measures for otitis media and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and an objective score for pediatric reflux obtained by fiberoptic laryngoscopy after treatment with antireflux precautions and therapy in children diagnosed as having either recurrent acute otitis media or otitis media with effusion and GERD.

Design: Prospective, before-and-after intervention study.

Setting: Hospital-based pediatric otolaryngology practice.

Participants: Population-based sample of 47 patients (mean age, 19.5 months).

Intervention: Standard antireflux therapy for 2 consecutive 12-week periods.

Main outcome measures: Otitis Media 6-Item quality-of-life survey, Infant GERD Questionnaire-Revised, GERD Symptom Questionnaire for Young Children, Pediatric Reflux Finding Score, and speech awareness threshold.

Results: Follow-up data were available for 37 patients. Mean (SD) change scores for Otitis Media 6-Item quality-of-life survey were 1.6 (1.1) at visit 2 and 1.5 (1.1) at visit 3 (P < .001 and P = .004, respectively). Change scores were significantly improved for Infant GERD Questionnaire-Revised and GERD Symptom Questionnaire for Young Children at visit 2 and for Infant GERD Questionnaire-Revised at visit 3. Mean (SD) change scores for the Pediatric Reflux Finding Score were 6.4 (4.9) at visit 2 and 8.0 (7.2) at visit 3 (P < .001 and P = .03, respectively). Hearing loss was significantly improved following therapy, as were laryngeal findings of reflux on fiberoptic laryngoscopy. Otitis media was considered by the examining physician to be clinically improved in 28 of 37 children (76%; 95% confidence interval, 60%-87%) at visit 2 and in 6 of 10 children (60%; 95% confidence interval, 31%-83%) at visit 3. Nine children (19.1%) required myringotomy tube placement.

Conclusions: Children with otitis media with effusion or recurrent acute otitis media and GERD have improved quality of life following treatment with antireflux therapy. Control of gastroesophageal reflux may play a role in the management of otitis media and avoidance of tympanostomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Audiometry / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / drug therapy*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laryngoscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / complications
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tympanoplasty / methods


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors