OBJECTIVE: Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a chronic entity that has been historically managed with adenoidectomy and ventilation tube insertion. Recently, balloon dilation of the eustachian tube has shown promising results in recalcitrant eustachian tube dysfunction. We reviewed the literature to determine the outcome of eustachian tube balloon dilation in children.
METHODS: A literature search was conducted for the period from 1990 to 2020 by searching several databases over a 1-month period (January 2021) according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews for Interventions. Primary outcome was defined as the success of the intervention determined by the resolution of symptoms, and secondary outcome was determined by revisions surgery and presence of complications.
RESULTS: Only 7 articles were identified based on our objectives and selection criteria. All studies included are retrospective cohort case series (Level IV) and 1 cohort of matched controls (Level III). A total of 284 patients were included in this review, with a mean age of 7.8 years. A total of 463 balloon dilation were performed either bilaterally or unilaterally. The most common finding of ETD is middle ear effusion in 5 studies. Balloon dilation of eustachian tube was second-line treatment in 6 studies and first-line treatment in 1 study. Improvement of symptoms was identified in all studies through various assessments performed. Revision surgery was performed in 1 study with no major complications reported.
CONCLUSIONS: Balloon dilation of the eustachian tube may be considered as an alternative procedure following failed standard treatment in children. The quality of evidence is inadequate to recommend widespread use of the technique until a better-quality study has been completed. Future randomized controlled studies with a large sample size are warranted to determine the efficacy of this procedure amongst children.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.