Resolution of Otitis Media With Effusion in Children With Cleft Palate Followed Through Five Years of Age

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To describe the temporal pattern of otitis media with effusion (OME) resolution for a cohort of nonsyndromic cleft palate children enrolled before palatoplasty and followed through 5 years of age.


This is a prospective, longitudinal study of the time course for OME resolution in infants and children with palatal clefts.


Cleft Palate Craniofacial Center of a tertiary care pediatric hospital.


This study included 52 children with cleft palate (29 boys, 45 white, Veau 1 through 4) who had a Furlow-type palatoplasty between 10 and 24 months of age performed by one of six surgeons.


Standard cleft palate management was supplemented with study visits to the research clinic pre- and postpalatoplasty and then yearly to 6 years of age for assessments of middle ear status by interval history, otoscopy, and tympanometry.

Main Outcome Measure:

The main outcome measure was age at otitis media resolution defined as the age in years at the first in a sequence of “disease-free” diagnoses not interrupted or followed by any other diagnosis.


The cumulative percent OME resolution for ears/children at ages <1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years was 4.1/4.4, 14.3/10.9, 31.6/21.7, 45.9/37.0, 56.1/50.0, and 70.4/60.9%. OME resolution followed a simple linear time curve with slopes of 13.5% (confidence interval [CI] = 12.2% to 14.8%,r2 = .99) and 11.9% (CI = 10.1% to 13.6%,r2 = .99) resolutions per year for ears and children, respectively.


There is a natural, age-related pattern of resolution for persistent OME that affects most infants and young children with cleft palate that is not affected by palatoplasty.

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