Effect of tympanostomy tubes on the pathogenesis of acute otitis media

William L. Meyerhoff, G. Scott Giebink, Donald A. Shea, Chap T. Le

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5 Scopus citations


Intubation of the tympanic membrane as a treatment for acute otitis media is extremely controversial. This study was designed to determine the effect of tympanic membrane intubation in an experimental model for acute purulent otitis media. The right tympanic membrane of the chinchilla was intubated with Paparella Type I tympanostomy tubes. This procedure was followed in seven days by nasopharyngeal inoculation of Streptococcus pneumoniae and in an additional three days by nasopharyngeal inoculation of influenza A virus. Nasopharyngeal inoculation with these microorganisms results in acute purulent otitis media in 70 per cent of animals. The presence of the tympanostomy tubes did not reduce the incidence of clinical otitis media, nor did it reduce the pathologic changes within the middle ear space. The tympanostomy tubes did, however, significantly reduce the incidence and severity of pathologic changes in the subepithelial space of the middle ear mucosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
More than two million tympanostomy tubes are inserted annually in this country. 1 Controversy, however, continues regarding the efficacy of tympanostomy tubes in the treatment of patients with persistent middle ear effusions and patients prone to recurrent acute otitis media. Unfortunately, most information is based on anecdotes and retrospective clinical observations. As beneficial as tympanostomy tubes appear to some observers, to others they appear unnecessary and hazardous. 2-4 Since it is nearly impossible to control the etiologic variables in a multifactorial condition such as otitis media, these anecdotes and retrospective clinical observations are of limited value. This project was de- January 29, 1982. Presented at the meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, January 19-21, 1981, St. Petersburg, Florida. Supported in part by the National Institute of Health-National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Communication Disorders Grant #NS-14538 and by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, AI-17160. * Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology; Chief, Department of Otolaryngology, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. ~-Professor, Department of Pediatrics. r Assistant Scientist, Department of Otolaryngology. wA ssistant Professor, Department of Biometry. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Meyerhoff: Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota Hospitals, Box 396 Mayo Memorial Building, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.


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