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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1995 Mar;31(2-3):207-14.

A prospective randomised trial of the use of sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide ear drops to clear a blocked tympanostomy tube.

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Royal Ear Hospital, London, UK.


This randomised prospective trial compared the efficacy of sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide ear drops in clearing a blocked tympanostomy tube. Tympanostomy tubes, 110 in number, obstructed with blood or inspissated secretions were randomised into treatment and control groups. Details of the operative procedure were retrospectively collected from the patients notes. The patients were reviewed after 2 weeks for both clinical and tympanometric evidence of clearance of the tube and evidence of complications of the drops. There was no significant therapeutic advantage between the two drops (P > 0.9), but in both treatment arms there was a significant therapeutic advantage over a period of observation (P < 0.05 in both groups). Otorrhoea and pain on instilling the drops occurred with equal incidence in both treatment groups. As obstruction of tympanostomy tubes is a common occurrence which often prompts surgical reventilation, there is great potential for cost savings if conservative treatment can be used effectively. The treatments for obstructed tympanostomy tubes are reviewed and methods of prevention of this common occurrence are discussed.

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