We measured quality of life issues for both children and their parents on the premise that parental quality of life should be an aspect of cost-effectiveness in otitis media treatment. The patients were less than 18 years of age and had had myringotomy with tube insertion at the head and neck surgery department of a large health maintenance organization. Quality of life for patients, parents, and caregivers was evaluated by telephone survey of parents or caregivers and by retrospective chart review of the number of pre- and postoperative healthcare visits and antibiotic usage. Chart review showed a significant postoperative reduction in the number of clinic visits and in use of antibiotic drugs after insertion of tympanostomy tubes. Improved postoperative hearing was noted, and tympanostomy tube insertion was shown to be safe. The chart-review cost analysis showed that tympanostomy tube insertion is a cost-effective treatment for otitis media in children, and the telephone survey results showed that it improves quality of life for children and their parents or other caregivers.
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