Table 3Study inclusion criteria for review of otitis media with effusion

CategoryCriteria for Inclusion
Study designMeta-analyses, systematic reviews conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration or commissioned by a national governmental agency that were identified during topic refinement and during the update search, RCTs, and nonrandomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective cohort studies, and case-control studies not included in one of these five systematic reviews.
Study durationUnlimited.
By ear or by subject studiesStudies could separate groups by subject or by ear. For studies by ear to be considered RCTs, they needed to randomize by ear. Studies that analyzed results by ear and created groups by distinguishing between left ear and right ear are considered nonrandomized controlled trials.
Sample sizeUnlimited.
Study locationUnlimited.
Time of publicationBecause some of the treatment options of interest have been comprehensively addressed in recent Cochrane or national government-commissioned systematic reviews, we searched only for RCTs not included in the reviews and observational studies published at any time, when a treatment had been addressed in a review from one of these two types of sources.

The following summarizes our search strategy for each included treatment option and population of interest.

We searched from 1948 forward for:
  • All treatments not addressed in one of the identified systematic reviews (namely comparisons of myringotomy).
  • Nonrandomized and observational studies across treatment options.
  • Studies concerning adults and subpopulations of interest (particularly children with comorbidities such as Down syndrome and craniofacial abnormalities), across treatment options.
  • RCTs of complementary and alternative medicine.
  • RCTs of treatments not covered in recent systematic reviews including:
    • Tympanostomy tubes vs. tympanostomy tubes (one review): last search April 2007
    • Tympanostomy tubes vs. nonsurgical interventions (two reviews): last search April 2007
    • Adenoidectomy with or without myringotomy (one review): last search March 2008
    • Oral and topical nasal steroids (one review that was updated): last search August 2010
    • Autoinflation (one review): last search August 2005
In relation to otherwise healthy children, who would not be considered as members of subpopulations of interest because of comorbidities, we included relevant evidence from each of the recent systematic reviews relevant to our KQs and searched for other RCT literature not included in the reviews.
Language of publicationGiven the volume of literature on this topic, we limited our search to publications in the English language.

KQs = Key Questions; RCT = randomized controlled trial

From: Methods

Cover of Otitis Media With Effusion: Comparative Effectiveness of Treatments
Otitis Media With Effusion: Comparative Effectiveness of Treatments [Internet].
Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 101.
Berkman ND, Wallace IF, Steiner MJ, et al.

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