Incidence of Otitis Media with Effusion in Cases of Head and Neck Malignancies Undergoing Radiotherapy: A Prospective Observational Study

  • Vikas Gupta
  • Gunjan DwivediEmail author
  • Lokanath Sahoo
  • Sankalp Singh
  • Uma Patnaik
  • Manoj Kumar
  • Amit Sood
Original Article


This study was done to evaluate the incidence of otitis media with effusion (OME) in cases of head and neck malignancies who undergo irradiation, excluding nasopharyngeal malignancies. This prospective observational study was done at a tertiary care hospital. Adult patients of head and neck malignancies treated with radiotherapy (RT) with or without concurrent chemotherapy as definitive or adjuvant therapy from September 2017 to August 2018 were included. Cases of nasopharyngeal malignancies and cases of malignancies of other sites extending to nasopharynx causing mechanical obstruction to ET were excluded. The otoscopy, tympanometry and pure tone audiometry findings of these patients were recorded pre RT, immediately after completion of RT and at 6 months post RT. The pre and post RT data were analysed to determine the incidence of OME. 39.3% of ears had retracted tympanic membrane (TM) and 7.1% had air-fluid levels in middle ear at first follow up (FFU). At second follow up (SFU), 13% of ears continued to have retracted TM while none had air-fluid levels. At FFU, 23.2% of ears had ‘B’ curve on tympanometry, indicative of OME while 19.6% of ears had ‘C’ curve, indicative of Eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction. At SFU, 1.8% had B curve while 14.3% had C curve, indicating improvement in ET function as compared to that at FFU. There is a considerable percentage of non-nasopharyngeal head and neck malignancy cases who develop OME post RT, however, in most of them it resolves spontaneously.


Radiotherapy OME Head and neck malignancies Eustachian tube Hearing loss 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Approval for this project was taken from institution ethics committee.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from the individuals participating in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association of Otolaryngologists of India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ENT-HNS, Command HospitalArmed Forces Medical CollegeWanowrie, PuneIndia
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyCommand HospitalLucknowIndia

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