Surgery for glue ear--a modern epidemic

Lancet. 1984 Apr 14;1(8381):835-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(84)92280-3.


Analysis of routine hospital statistics confirms anecdotal reports of an epidemic of surgery for glue ear. The surgical rate rose by 74% in Oxford Region between 1975 and 1981. The peak ages for surgery are 5-7 years, and the rates are higher in boys than in girls (1.4:1.00). The relative risk is high in social class I (1.16) and low in social class V (0.61). Although the prevalence of glue ear is hard to ascertain, the current surgical epidemic probably reflects an increase in apparent prevalence rather than a real increase in morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks / epidemiology
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / surgery*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / epidemiology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery*
  • Otitis Media, Suppurative / epidemiology
  • Otitis Media, Suppurative / surgery*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Wales