HealthDay News — A nasal balloon can effectively treat otitis media with effusion in children, preventing unnecessary and ineffective treatment with antibiotics, according to a new study published online in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Ian Williamson, MD, of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed autoinflation with a nasal balloon in a group of 320 children aged 4 to 11 years. 

During the treatment, the child blows through each nostril into a nozzle to inflate the balloon. The children were randomly assigned to either use the balloon treatment three times a day for one to three months, or to undergo standard care.

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Compared to those in the standard-care group, children who used the balloon treatment were more likely to have normal tympanograms at one month (47.3 versus 35.6 percent), and at three months (49.6 versus 38.3 percent). The children also had fewer days with symptoms, the researchers reported.

“Autoinflation is a simple, low-cost procedure that can be taught to young children in a primary care setting with a reasonable expectation of compliance,” according to the study authors, who believe the treatment should be used more widely in children older than age 4.

Kestrel Medical supplied the Otovent devices used in the study.


1. Williamson I, et al. CMAJ. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.141608