Optimizing hearing in patients with cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) by early recognition and management of otitis media with effusion is essential for speech development. Some evidence has suggested higher complication rates from ventilation tube (VT) insertion in patients with CLP and has led to a trend not to treat these patients surgically. However, studies have failed to match comparison groups for age and sex.
To compare complication rates from VT insertion in pediatric patients with and without CLP.
Design, Setting, and Participants
The study used a nested case-control design to evaluate 60 pediatric patients with CLP who underwent VT insertion at a children’s hospital. The control group of age- and sex-matched patients was selected from a database of 2943 VT insertions.
All patients were administered general anesthesia and underwent VT insertion by a pediatric otorhinolaryngology (ENT) team.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcomes were numbers of otorrhea complications. Secondarily, rates of attendance at an ENT clinic specifically for complications were evaluated. Finally, numbers of complications other than otorrhea were assessed but not statistically analyzed owing to the varied types and low numbers in each group.
The control cohort had 151 documented cases of otorrhea compared with 121 in the CLP group (ratio 1.25:1); the difference between groups was not statistically significant (P = .52). There was no significant difference in mean ENT clinic visits per patient for complications between groups (0.80 in the CLP group, 0.78 for controls) (P = .66). Regarding complications other than otorrhea, the control group reported more than the CLP group (43 vs 25; ratio, 1.7:1).
Conclusions and Relevance
Complication rates of VT placement among patients with CLP were not higher than those among patients without CLP. Therefore, treatment with VT insertion should be administered to patients with CLP under the same guidelines as for those without CLP. Indeed, there could be an argument for a shift in practice toward more aggressive treatment of patients with CLP, who are already vulnerable to speech and social developmental delay.