Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nasal balloon therapy helps fluid buildup in middle ear common to kids

Vancouver Sun

 A cheap and simple procedure that seems more like a party trick than a medical therapy appears to help young children clear their ears of fluid, a condition sometimes called glue ear.

British researchers reported Monday that having affected children inflate a balloon by blowing air through their nostrils helped rid the middle ear of fluid and re-establish its proper air pressure.

Though not all benefited from the procedure, nearly 40 per cent more of the children who used the technique had fluid-free ears at three months when compared to children who didn't use the nasal balloon therapy, the researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The authors said the technique could reduce the needless prescribing of antibiotics for this problem. Studies have shown antibiotics are ineffective against this problem, but doctors often prescribe them anyway.

Lead author Dr. Ian Williamson said wider use of the technique might also reduce the need for surgeries to insert drainage tubes in the ears of affected children.

"It works early on and some children are benefiting," said Williamson, a family physician and associate professor of primary care at the University of Southampton in Britain.

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