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Is nasal balloon autoinflation an effective treatment for children with glue ear?
  1. Kiran Joshi
  1. School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kiran Joshi, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 2SP, UK; kiranjoshi{at}

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Clinical Scenario

An 8-year-old boy presents in primary care with persistent, bilateral otitis media with effusion (OME) and associated hearing loss. Cases of persistent OME can be managed surgically, with insertion of tympanostomy tubes (grommets). However, in line with current clinical guidelines, there is an active observation period of 3 months before surgery should be considered. You wonder if use of nasal balloon autoinflation (Otovent), a more conservative treatment option, can be of benefit and help to avoid the need for surgery.

Clinical Question

In children with OME, does nasal balloon autoinflation improve symptoms and/or audiological outcomes?


All searches were performed on 25 August 2020. Inclusion criteria were full text articles written in English whereby nasal balloon autoinflation was used in the treatment of OME in children. Case reports, commentary and review articles were excluded.


Search: ((child*[Title/Abstract]) OR (adolescen*[Title/Abstract])) AND ((((*nasal balloon*[Title/Abstract]) OR (autoinflat*[Title/Abstract])) OR (otovent[Title/Abstract])) AND ((((otitis media with effusion[Title/Abstract]) OR (OME[Title/Abstract])) OR (glue ear[Title/Abstract])) OR (secretory otitis media[Title/Abstract]) OR (SOM[Title/Abstract])))

Searches using similar search terms were conducted on the Cochrane Library and EMBASE databases; however, no additional articles were found.

A total of 24 unique articles were identified and underwent title and abstract screening, of which 9 were selected for full-text screening. Studies excluded at this stage were of the wrong study type or did not assess autoinflation outcomes. Full-text screening yielded four studies relevant to the question. An additional one relevant study was identified through citation searching. Characteristics …

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  • Contributors KJ has sole accountability for all aspects of the work including conception, data acquisition and interpretation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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