To document the incidence of complications occurring secondary to placement of tympanostomy tubes in patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Retrospective chart review.
Tertiary referral center.
Forty-five patients referred to the Department of Otolaryngology for inability to tolerate hyperbaric oxygen therapy between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1995.
All patients underwent bilateral myringotomy and tube placement.
Charts were reviewed for complications of tube placement, including otorrhea, otalgia, hearing loss, persistent perforations, and tinnitus.
Seventeen (38%) of 45 patients experienced complications, with most having more than 1. Most complications occurred after conclusion of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Otorrhea was most common, occurring in 13 patients (29%). Persistent tympanic membrane perforations occurred in 7 patients (16%).
The rate of complications is higher than reported for placement of tympanostomy tubes in other patient populations. Coexisting illness, such as diabetes mellitus, may contribute to the development of complications in patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Alternative methods of tympanostomy, with emphasis on shorter duration of intubation, should be considered in this patient population.