Osteopathic Journal ClubORIGINAL ARTICLE

Effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Middle Ear Effusion Following Acute Otitis Media in Young Children: A Pilot Study

Karen M. Steele, DO; Jane E. Carreiro, DO; Judith Haug Viola, DO; Josephine A. Conte, DO; and Lance C. Ridpath, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: December 5, 2012

Accepted: November 19, 2013

Published: June 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(6): 436-447

Context: Childhood acute otitis media (AOM) is highly prevalent. Its usual sequela of middle ear effusion (MEE) can lead to conductive hearing loss, for which surgery is commonly used.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of an osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) protocol on MEE resolution following an episode of AOM. The authors hypothesized that OMT provided adjunctively to standard care for young children with AOM would reduce the duration of MEE following the onset of AOM.

Methods: We compared standard care only (SCO) and standard care plus OMT (SC+OMT) for the duration of MEE following AOM. Patients were aged 6 months to 2 years. The SC+OMT group received OMT during 3 weekly visits. Weekly tympanometric and acoustic reflectometer (AR) readings were obtained from all patients.

Results: There were 52 patients enrolled, with 43 completing the study and 9 dropping out. No demographic differences were noted. Only ears from each patient with abnormal tympanograms at entry were included. There were 76 ears in the tympanogram analysis (38 from SCO; 38 from SC+OMT) and 61 ears in the AR data analysis (31 from SCO; 30 from SC+OMT). Dependence of bilateral ear disease noted in AR readings was accounted for in statistical analysis. Tympanogram data demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in MEE at visit 3 in patients in the SC+OMT group (odds ratio, 2.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.16, 7.62; χ2 test for independence, P=.02). The AR data analysis showed statistically significant improvement at visit 3 for the SC+OMT group (z=2.05; P=.02). There was no statistically significant change in MEE before or immediately after the OMT protocol.

Conclusions: A standardized OMT protocol administered adjunctively with standard care for patients with AOM may result in faster resolution of MEE following AOM than standard treatment alone. (ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00520039.)

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