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Surgical management of otitis media with effusion in children

About

What is covered

This interactive flowchart covers the surgical management of OME in children under 12.
OME is a common condition of early childhood in which accumulation of fluid within the middle ear space causes hearing impairment. The hearing loss is usually transient and self-limiting, although in some cases it can persist, necessitating surgical intervention in the form of ventilation tube insertion.
This interactive flowchart provides recommendations on the surgical management of suspected OME in children under the age of 12 years. It also considers the management of OME in children with Down's syndrome and children with cleft palate.

Updates

Updates to this interactive flowchart

18 May 2017 Restructured, and summarised recommendations replaced with full recommendations.

Person-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Your responsibility

Guidelines

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Technology appraisals

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the recommendations to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Medical technologies guidance, diagnostics guidance and interventional procedures guidance

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account. However, the interactive flowchart does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the recommendations, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Short Text

Everything NICE has said on surgical management of otitis media with effusion in children under 12 in an interactive flowchart

What is covered

This interactive flowchart covers the surgical management of OME in children under 12.
OME is a common condition of early childhood in which accumulation of fluid within the middle ear space causes hearing impairment. The hearing loss is usually transient and self-limiting, although in some cases it can persist, necessitating surgical intervention in the form of ventilation tube insertion.
This interactive flowchart provides recommendations on the surgical management of suspected OME in children under the age of 12 years. It also considers the management of OME in children with Down's syndrome and children with cleft palate.

Updates

Updates to this interactive flowchart

18 May 2017 Restructured, and summarised recommendations replaced with full recommendations.

Sources

NICE guidance and other sources used to create this interactive flowchart.
Otovent nasal balloon for otitis media with effusion (2016) NICE medtech innovation briefing 59

Quality standards

Quality statements

Effective interventions library

Effective interventions library

Successful effective interventions library details

Implementation

NICE has produced resources to help implement its guidance on:

Information for the public

NICE has written information for the public on each of the following topics.

Pathway information

Person-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Your responsibility

Guidelines

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Technology appraisals

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the recommendations to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Medical technologies guidance, diagnostics guidance and interventional procedures guidance

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account. However, the interactive flowchart does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the recommendations, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Supporting information

Formal assessment of a child with suspected OME should include:
  • clinical history taking, focusing on:
    • poor listening skills
    • indistinct speech or delayed language development
    • inattention and behaviour problems
    • hearing fluctuation
    • recurrent ear infections or upper respiratory tract infections
    • balance problems and clumsiness
    • poor educational progress
  • clinical examination, focusing on:
    • otoscopy
    • general upper respiratory health
    • general developmental status
  • hearing testing, which should be carried out by trained staff using tests suitable for the developmental stage of the child, and calibrated equipment
  • tympanometry.
The persistence of bilateral OME and hearing loss should be confirmed over a period of 3 months before intervention is considered. The child's hearing should be re-tested at the end of this time.
During the active observation period, advice on educational and behavioural strategies to minimise the effects of the hearing loss should be offered.
Children with persistent bilateral OME documented over a period of 3 months with a hearing level in the better ear of 25–30 dBHL or worse averaged at 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz (or equivalent dBA where dBHL not available) should be considered for surgical intervention.
Exceptionally, healthcare professionals should consider surgical intervention in children with persistent bilateral OME with a hearing loss less than 25–30 dBHL where the impact of the hearing loss on a child's developmental, social or educational status is judged to be significant.
Children who have undergone insertion of ventilation tubes for OME should be followed up and their hearing should be re-assessed.

Glossary

otitis media with effusion

Paths in this pathway

Pathway created: September 2012 Last updated: May 2017

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